MARATHON, October 2, 2019 – A Marathon drug dealer faces a possible long stretch in Florida State Prison after pleading no contest in four felony cases against him.
On September 27 before Acting Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Ruth Becker, Enrique Valdes Jr., 44, entered the pleas to four counts of sale of cocaine and two counts of unlawful use of a two-way communications device. Assistant State Attorney Jon Byrne represented the state.
At sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled, Valdes faces a possible 15 years in prison on each of the sale counts and a possible five years on each of the counts of unlawful use of a two-way communications device.
Valdes, who has an extensive arrest record in Monroe County, is no stranger to prison; he has previously served terms for aggravated assault with a weapon and battery. His latest cases stem from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives using confidential informants in controlled narcotics purchases that were recorded.
On January 17, 2018, an informant agreed to purchase half an ounce of cocaine from Valdes for $900 and on January 28 that year, the transaction was consummated and recorded at a Marathon motel.
On December 20, 2017, in a recorded phone call, Valdes agreed to sell to an informant 3.5 grams of cocaine for $300. The deal was completed the next day on 63rd Street.
In a similar deal on December 13, 2017, an informant agreed to purchase from Valdes 3.5 grams of cocaine for $300. The recorded transaction occurred that day on 88th Street.
And on December 8, 2017, Valdes agreed to sell to an informant 3.5 grams of cocaine for $300. Like in the December 13 transaction, the sale was completed on 88th Street.
Assistant Public Defender Victor Palacios questioned why police didn’t arrest Valdes after the first transaction. To that, Vaughn O’Keefe, then a Sheriff’s Office detective and now a road-patrol sergeant, testified that detectives initially were looking at another target and believed they might have been onto a larger case of drug trafficking.