FLORIDA, United States (CMC) — United States federal authorities here say the Jamaican-born owner of a popular restaurant in Orange County, Florida, has been arrested for allegedly using his business as "a front" for drug trafficking.
Police said that Mark Jathan has been arrested for allegedly buying a kilo of cocaine and that he used his "Caribbean Cuisine" as a front for buying and selling drugs.
According to the criminal complaint, "suppliers would walk the drugs in the front door and they'd go out the back door to waiting drug dealers".
Police alleged that Jathan was the middleman and the complaint said that officers from the US Drug Enforcement Agency had set up a sting operation at Jathan's Caribbean Cuisine in which an undercover informant showed up with a kilogramme of cocaine.
Court documents show that Jathan handed the informant about US$25,000 in cash; and, once the money changed hands, the agents "cuffed him".
When asked about the bundles of cash, Jathan allegedly told them "the money was not his and that it belonged to someone who wanted to buy his business," the complaint said.
DEA agents considered him an "upper-level dealer".
Jathan was released on a surety bond, meaning he didn't have to pay anything, though his bond is set at US$50,000.