Police raid SW Miami-Dade business for drugs, gambling, prostitution

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - At least four people are waking up behind bars after police raided a Southwest Miami-Dade restaurant for selling drugs, prostitution and illegal gambling.

Miami-Dade Police served a warrant at Kareta Kafe on Bird Road and Southwest 105th Avenue, after staking it out for months. It is one of two businesses that police raided Thursday night, both of which are owned by the same person.

“This is a months long investigation,” said MDP Lt. Joe Gonzales. “It started out, believe it or not, by a crime stoppers tip.”

Investigators said they have seen drug purchases, illegal gambling and prostitution inside the business. “You have several ladies that would come to your side and ask you to buy them a beer,” said Gonzales, “and that beer was $10. Then, after that, it would lead to conversations of propositions for sex.”

Agents swept the business from top to bottom combing for evidence, along with K-9 units. At least half a dozen women were detained for questioning.

Police arrested Carolina Hernandez, Yanelis Lamont, Ileana Medina and Yusimi Ponce-Garcia. They said Hernandez sold an undercover detective coke — taking the drugs out of her bra.

Lamont is accused of paying out earnings for illegal gambling and Medina was found with cocaine.

Investigators also say Ponce-Garcia gave an undercover cop drugs in the bathroom after he asked for a shot of whiskey and cocaine.

“We always complain, because we always think there’s something going on in there,” said Yvette Orozco, a nearby business owner, “but we didn’t know for sure.”

Inside the restaurant there were machines used for illegal gambling, lining the walls, said police.

Eliza Mendez said she suspected something wasn’t right at Kareta Kafe, for months. “Things we’ve seen out of here have been absolutely insane. The girls up and down, the drugs on the floor,” she said. “I’ve had to call management plenty of times because of the drug bags on the floor. We found a knife on the floor one day, and we were like, ‘OK, this isn’t funny.'”

Authorities also raided El Cortadito on Bird Road, which is owned by the same person. One person was taken into custody at that location.

The business owner has not been arrested. Police said the investigation is still ongoing.

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