The Show Begins
Imagine a scene opens with a police cruiser that is parked outside a garage, you can spot a 70s Plymouth Hemi Barracuda and get a glimpse of a Dodge Viper, a couple of other hotrods back out of the garage, then they’re being put on trailers and hauled away.
It looks like you’re getting a tour of the set of some new Hollywood action thriller where the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the police confiscate a warehouse that is packed with exotic and muscle cars.
However, it was just a regular day in Fort Lauderdale, Miami when DEA agents with the assistance of partners in local, state and federal law enforcement agencies seized 49 personal vehicles worth more than $6 million!
Operation Snake Oil
With a name worthy enough to be featured in a movie, Operation Snake Oil led to the arrest of Vincent Colangelo. Colangelo is a resident of Davie, Florida who conspired to circulate and distribute a large quantity of oxycodone although he had no legitimate medical rationale. He also partook in money laundering schemes and filed falsified income tax returns. Charges were also brought up against 18 other people and almost 20 were arrested – including 6 doctors – for illegal prescribing medication.
With proceeds from his pill-mill operation – where prescription drugs are diverted from legitimate patients and supplied through rouge outlets to people who abuse them – Colangelo bought his complete car collection IN CASH. It is believed that his operation was lucrative enough for him to be able to buy four exotic cars IN A MONTH paid in full through CASH!
Aside from the high-end vehicles, Colangelo had to agree to forfeit five of his properties that were valued to be worth more than $2.5 million, cash from a safety deposit box and multiple bank accounts amounting to almost a million dollars and jewelry that was approximately worth $20,000.
Members of the Lineup
If you’re wondering what kind of cars made into Colangelo’s exclusive club, then get ready for a partial list:
- A Ford Mustang – 2008 model.
- A Rolls Royce Phantom – 2008 model.
- An Acura NSX – 1992 model.
- Multiple Dodge Vipers – 1999, 2002 and 2 of 2010 models.
- A Mercedes Benz McLaren – 2009 model.
- A Bentley Convertible – 2007 model.
- A Lamborghini Gallardo – 2008 model.
- A Ford Mustang Mach 1 – 1970 model.
- A Chevrolet Camaro SS – 2010 model.
- A Lincoln Limousine – 2004 model.
- A Lamborghini Mercialago – 2008 model.
This obviously looks like a life of crime pays but don’t forget that it only pays till you get caught. At the end of the day, everyone gets caught.
All of these vehicles (and some watercrafts) that were confiscated by the DEA were put to auction by the U.S. Marshals in South Florida.
The auction took place in Opa-Locka and listed American muscle cars, exotic cars, some motorcycles, a few vessels and jet skis. For example, take the 66 Chevrolet Stingray Corvette in excellent condition outside and with a pristine inside. The maximum amount was paid for a 2008 Rolls Royce Phantom which was appraised at almost $300,000 and was auctioned for almost $250,000.
A total of almost $2 million was collected by auctioning off these seized cars. The proceeds will be appropriately channeled through the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Fund and distributed equitably to the law enforcement agencies that have participated. The funds are generally used to support new programs in the community, compensate victims and to complement future law enforcement agendas.
Final Word of Caution
Opioids found in pain medicines are profitable when sold illegally, but they’re also very dangerous and highly addictive. Your respiratory organs can weaken or slow down. If an over dose is taken or if they are mixed with any other drugs or alcohol, the individual can just stop breathing – resulting in death.
It is definitely true that art mimics real life and this story gives you a taste of the movies in real life. This is a story of large amounts of money, a deadly business that appears to be innocent and a collection of exotic cars and classic American muscle cars.
Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that possessing lavish houses and impressive cars cannot be justified if you’re just destroying other people’s lives.