Crime

Admitted drug-dealing father and son Socas ask for lower sentences

This is where much of the drugs were hidden, in and around the side-by-side trailers.
This is where much of the drugs were hidden, in and around the side-by-side trailers.

A father and son from Stock Island who admitted to running a massive drug operation are asking a federal judge to greatly reduce their possible prison sentences.

Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez is expected to sentence Juan Soca Sr., 64, and his son Juan Soca Jr., 43. The father faces up to 40 years, the son 22 years to life following their guilty pleas Oct. 6.

In new court filings, attorneys for the father, citing his health, age and cooperation with prosecutors, want his sentence to be no more than 10 years.

The defense for the younger Soca, despite him being designated a career criminal, is looking for a sentence of between 10 and just under 13 years.

They say he is deemed a career criminal based on the current case and offenses from more than 10 years ago, and that he was not a large-scale trafficker. They also say he was a successful commercial fisherman and that it's "inexplicable" he would sell drugs because his fishing business was successful.

Jose Soca, 38, a cousin of Juan Jr., previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and was sentenced to 4.5 years the same day the other two pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, Soca Jr. and Jose Soca each sold cocaine to a confidential source on separate occasions and, based on those transactions, law enforcement obtained and executed a search warrant Jan. 29 for the mobile homes where Juan Sr. and Jose Soca lived. The trailers were side by side at 6451 6th St.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Key West Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement found $235,398 in cash hidden inside pipes, 7.5 grams of cocaine base and 3,084 grams of cocaine buried in the yard of Soca Sr. On the adjoining property of Jose Soca, they found about 5,880 grams of cocaine, 570 30-mg oxycodone tablets, 1,332 alprazolam tablets and $4,370 in cash.

During Soca Jr.'s arrest, authorities found him with 360 30-mg oxycodone tablets and $12,493 in cash. Of that money, $1,305 matched prerecorded currency the confidential source had given to Soca Jr. during a drug deal on Jan. 28, and $200 matched currency given by the confidential source to Jose Soca during a Jan. 23 drug deal.

During a search of a storage unit at Soca Jr.'s apartment, officers also found 164 oxycodone pills. They also executed a search warrant at a shed at the Stock Island Lobster Co., where Soca Jr. had "engaged in a cocaine transaction with the confidential source." During that search, the officers found 19 grams of cocaine, 958 grams of marijuana and 132 30-mg oxycodone tablets.

The search also turned up 500 illegal undersized lobsters.

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