Dani Davies, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer January 24, 2001 Wednesday South Edition Copyright 2001 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc The Palm Beach Post January 24, 2001 Wednesday South Edition
(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- Police will receive a long-awaited $13 million check this morning - a cut of the largest cash seizure ever in a narcotics case and the fruit of a 12-year investigation.
The department likely will receive another $2 million to $3 million from federal officials in the next month, according to Paul E. Pelletier, chief of the economic crimes section for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami.
The money is a slice of $230 million that federal agents netted in 1994 after they nabbed three dealers in an international drug organization: Sheila Arana de Nasser, her husband Julio Nasser David and Paul Hindelang, who is from South Florida.
Boca Raton police got involved in the case in 1988, when officers found 1,400 pounds of cocaine on a boat in the posh Royal Palm Yacht Club. That seizure led to the large-scale investigation by the U.S. Customs Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the police department.
Boca Raton was allotted nearly $750,000 in 1998, its share of $3.6 million snared from the Swiss bank account of another dealer, Julio Nayor.
Officials say Nayor was part of a drug smuggling ring that imported cocaine into Florida and distributed it to dealers in Chicago, Detroit, and Charlotte, N.C. Nayor was the ring's ship-builder, who constructed secret compartments in sport-fishing boats to hide the drugs. Police say Nayor funneled money from his illegal activities to the Swiss account, which was eventually frozen by authorities.
Boca Raton Police Capt. Jim Burke, who has worked on the case since it began, said the investigation is continuing and authorities still hope to make more arrests.
"The agency allowed me to work on a major case for 12 years," Burke said. "It paid off, I guess. That's the goal of any big investigation - hit them where it hurts."
Chief Andrew Scott will receive the $13,097,597.38 check at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami. The windfall comprises about 75 percent of the police department's nearly $18 million annual budget.
Scott said Monday that he doesn't know exactly how the money will be spent. He plans to make recommendations to the city manager, who will advise the city council on how to use the money. There are restrictions on how it can be spent, Pelletier said.
Switzerland and the United States split the $230 million. Agencies here were awarded money according to a U.S. Department of Justice formula. Aside from Boca Raton, eight other agencies in Florida each got $875,000 for their role in the investigation.