HOMESTEAD, Fla. - A $750,000 home behind fortress-like walls was seized Friday by heavily armed federal agents who dropped in from helicopters.
It turned out that no one was in the home, which had been ordered forfeited to the government in a drug case.
The home had belonged to Yoel Tirado, 33, who is serving a 15-year prison term after being convicted in a local narcotics organization that had been busted in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation launched in 2004.
The seized property had been purchased through illegal drug profits, federal officials said.
The home had been occupied for months by individuals claiming no association to Tirado, officials said. ICE agents tried several times to evict them, but residents fortified the property to keep them out.
ICE agents were joined by officers from Miami, Miami-Dade County and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the raid Friday.
The investigation into the drug organization has led to the seizure of eight properties valued at more than $2 million, three Hummer vehicles and more than $620,000 in cash, ICE officials said.