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September 20, 2007

Alley Gator Blues

Oscar Omar Zabala, the Miami man arrested earlier this month in Florida’s Alligator Alley while trying to smuggle $1 million worth of prescription HIV drugs to Argentina, had his $750,000 bond reduced by $50,000 yesterday by Collier Circuit judge Fred Hardt. He is charged with 14 counts of trafficking in contraband prescription drugs, and faces 30 years in a state prison on each first-degree felony.

On September 5, Zabala and Juan Vasquez of Elizabeth, New Jersey, were arrested while traveling on a La Cubana bus, where Florida state troopers found hundreds of bottles of HIV meds stored in bags in the luggage compartment.

Zabala and Vasquez—who claimed not to know each other at the time of arrest—claimed that had purchased the drugs for $10,000 on the streets of New Jersey and were bringing them home to sick family members. Investigators suspect they were to be sold on the black market in South America.

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