Exclusive Look Inside “The Vault”
South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBS4) –It’s a secret government bunker that’s home to millions of dollars of illegal guns, drugs, and other contraband seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Inside the sprawling facility is a concrete vault. It is where evidence considered “highest risk” is kept under lock, key, and armed guard.
The volume of what’s inside the bunker speaks to South Florida continuing to be one of the top three international gateways for illegal goods.
It’s not just “dope” in the vault, but weapons and even protected military technology.
It sits on shelves with special numbers and tags, waiting for its day in court.
“We’ve seen everything from electronics to masterpieces of art pass through here,” says Robert Del Toro, CBP’s Assistant Port Director who oversees the facility.
“You name it, we’ve had here,” he said.
Shelves are filled with counterfeit designer glasses, purses, and bags. Other shelves are filled with computers and electronics. Others contain countless bags of counterfeit products like iPhones, iPads, even Rubik’s Cubes.
The “Vault” is home to high risk items like narcotics and guns.
“It’s hurricane proof and bomb proof,” said Del Toro. Take one step inside and you’re immediately hit with the strong odor or marijuana.
“Some of this evidence has been stored here for weeks, even years,” said Del Toro.
Locked away and sealed in plastic, CBP has confiscated military and police equipment, like helmets, riot shields, even gas masks.
“All of it worth millions of dollars on the black market,” Del Toro told CBS4’s Brian Andrews.
Del Toro has spent 25 years in Customs and sees it every day; a new piece of evidence arrives that’s enough to raise an eyebrow. “It always amazes me the type of items and the amount we see coming through here,” he said.
The items are kept at this secret location until they are no longer need for trial purposes, then, they are destroyed.