NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — A traffic stop by Miami-Dade Police lead to a stunning discovery this week: a car filled with a half dozen assault rifles and pistols, $20,000 in cash and more than 10 bottles with liquids that you normally need prescriptions for including promethazine with cocaine.
“It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. “A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops. These traffic stops lead to so many things in the criminal world and they are never routine. We warn our officers that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. You never know what you are going to get.”
“You have to be careful what you are dealing with as a police officer when you don’t know how many weapons are in a vehicle,” he said.
Zabaleta told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench “A simple traffic stop in this case unfolded and lead to something so big. He had an arsenal in his car and a lot of cash and a lot of unprescribed drugs like codeine.
CBS4 obtained a photo exclusively from Miami-Dade police showing the evidence in this case including three assault rifles and three pistols and the bottles of the liquids which an arrest report refers to as “promethazine with codeine oral solution, promethazine hydrochloride and code phosphate syrup” and “5 bottles of suspect codeine where the labels were completely ripped off” and “4 baby bottles with suspect codeine inside.”
Police have arrested 33-year-old Ras Cates and 20-year-old Lizmixell Batista. They say it was just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday when Cates cut off a Miami-Dade police car as he was leaving a gas station on N.W. 27th Ave. at N.W. 87th St. Police say they approached the car and smelled marijuana.
Zabaleta said Cates initially got out of his car and said he was armed and had a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm.
“He also gave a statement that he had two additional firearms in his vehicle,” said Zabaleta.
“When they opened the trunk, that’s when they were in for a surprise,” he said. “They also noticed 3 additional assault rifles that were short barrel with no stock and it made it very easy for them to be concealed. The assault rifles looked like they were no joke and could do a lot of damage.”
Police also confiscated $20,000 in cash.
“They found 3 pints of syrup with some type of sedative in the syrup with codeine in it,” said Zabaleta. “Obviously this is supposed to be done by prescription. There were large amounts. One detective said he had never seen such a large amount of promethazine with codeine. Here we have 3 assault rifles in a trunk, marijuana and the illegal possession of promethazine with codeine which you need a prescription for. This is a formula for disaster. We are looking at trafficking in the codeine. Who are they selling it too? Is it reaching high school and is it reaching our kids. Are they going to be selling this as popsicles?”
Zabaleta said the discovery also calls attention to the possibility of violence and deadly incidents involving road rage.
“Every time there’s a case of road rage we urge people to have patience while driving and when someone cuts you off and the emotions get out of hand and someone is making gestures,” said Zabaleta. “You don’t know who’s in the car and what sort of reaction there is going to be.”
Cates faces a series of charges including possession of a weapon while committing an offense. Records show he’s been arrested before on drug charges and possessing a concealed firearm.
The Miami-Dade Police narcotics bureau is taking a close look at this case and Zabaleta said it is one that shows how risky such traffic stops can be.
Cates is being held without bond. Batista has been released on bond.
Police say they live together in a home in a gated community in Miramar.
D’Oench stopped at the home and knocked on the front door. But no one answered.