Alleged Criminal Claims Ties To Infamous 1990’s Murder
South Florida Crime
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A former Coral Springs firefighter is in jail on drug charges and federal investigators are trying to figure out if he could have been involved in an infamous Miami murder case.
Santiago Gonzalez, 49, was taken into custody after being busted in a federal drug sting.
Before his arrest, Gonzalez had worked ten years for the Coral Springs Fire Department.
He sent a letter of resignation to the city.
CBS4 contacted Coral Springs for comment and a spokesman for the city declined.
According to a Federal Criminal Complaint, Santiago bragged to an undercover informant that “he had participated in numerous armed kidnappings and robberies in the past”.
According to the informant, Gonzalez told him that he had “been involved in the robbery and murder of a Hungarian couple in Miami in the 1990’s and the subsequent disposal of the bodies.”
He is referring to the murder and dismemberment of Golden Beach couple Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton.
Back in the summer of 1995, the couple disappeared and their remains were found stuffed into oil drums and dumped at the edge of the Everglades. Their severed heads with their teeth pulled out were later found off Interstate 75.
Two men, Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal are on death row for the murders. The two were part of a group called the “Sun Gym Gang” named after the facility where they were bodybuilders.
They hatch a scheme to kidnap and rob a wealthy Argentine businessman and later decide to rob and murder Griga and Furton. Their exploits are captured in an upcoming film called “Pain and Gain” starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson.
Published reports say Gonzalez was a regular at the gym depicted in the movie and was asked to help dispose of the bodies but he declined.
He was never charged in connection with the slayings. But now investigators have to figure out why he made the claims to the undercover informant last August. Because of that statement, investigators decided to arrange a drug sting involving Gonzalez.
It began in the summer of 2012 with an undercover informant meeting Gonzalez at the Companion’s Cigar Shop in Miami Lakes. During the recorded meeting, Gonzalez agreed to provide protection for what he thought was a drug dealer who was transporting cocaine.
During that meeting, Gonzalez suggested he could do more damage if others attempted to rob the informant
The informant told him he would be paid $500 per kilogram for his protection during transport.
Three transports were made and Gonzalez provided protection.
On January 24th of this year, the informant met Gonzalez again at the cigar shop to make arrangements for a fourth drug transport. In the audio recorded meeting, Gonzalez indicated he had his pistol and once again discussed purchasing a rifle with the proceeds from the transport.
Gonzalez followed the informant to the Westland Mall in Hialeah and retrieved eight kilograms of artificial cocaine from a vehicle pre-positioned by law enforcement. Shortly after completing the transport, law enforcement stopped Gonzalez and took him into custody.
During the search they say they found a 9 mm handgun with several loaded magazines.