German Rivera-Cruz signed for a package from Puerto Rico filled with cocaine, Polk County detectives say.
WINTER HAVEN – Is there an easy way to transport cocaine into this state from someplace else — say, from the island of Puerto Rico?
If several arrests on Thursday are any indication, sending the cocaine by Express Mail probably isn’t the most effective way of making a living through drug trafficking.
This week, Polk County Sheriff’s Organized Crime and Narcotics detectives, working on an undercover investigation along with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Postal Service, made three arrests and seized more than a pound of cocaine in Winter Haven.
And it was as simple as a trip to the local post office.
On Wednesday, detectives and agents acted on a tip and intercepted an Express Mail package coming from Puerto Rico, which was on its way to 609 Kings Lane SW in Winter Haven. The agents were not disappointed when they opened the package.
“A federal search warrant was executed on the package, and approximately one pound, 7.4 ounces of cocaine was recovered from within,” noted Carrie Eleazer, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s office, in her report on the case.
The next day, detectives were able to obtain a search warrant for the Winter Haven address that the package was headed to. At the behest of law enforcement, a U.S. Postal inspector conducted a controlled delivery of the package to one of the residents, German Rivera-Cruz, age 45.
Keep in mind that Express Mail deliveries usually require something from the recipient: their signature.
Once again, detectives were not disappointed.
“Rivera-Cruz signed for delivery of the package and immediately opened it,” Eleazer said. The response from law enforcement was swift.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives and DEA agents executed the search warrant on the house and found the cocaine, which Eleazer said Rivera-Cruz had “hidden in clothes within a laundry basket.”
They found more than cocaine in dirty laundry, though.
Iris Garcia was charged with giving false information to a law enforcement officer.
“Detectives and agents also located two scales containing cocaine residue, marijuana, and $4,779 in U.S. currency,” Eleazer said.
Three people at the home were arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail.
Rivera-Cruz was charged with trafficking in cocaine, maintaining a dwelling for drug trafficking, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Orlando Ortiz Garcia, 19, was charged with possession of cannabis under 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Iris Garcia, 42, was arrested for giving false information to a law enforcement officer.

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