Kosciusko Co. scam leads to police raid in Florida

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

A man from Florida is in jail in Orlando after scamming a local Kosciusko County resident.

A scam investigation that originated in Warsaw culminated in the raid of an Orlando man’s home last Thursday. Officers from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s office as well as various local law enforcement agencies in Florida raided the home of Derick Cordero, 32 after obtaining a search warrant.

Cordero is currently being held of the preliminary charge of felony possession of cannabis with intent to sell or deliver.

But it was not the drugs that officers were after. The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Dept. got involved in the case when Martha Mikel, of Nappanee, reported a scam.

She had been contacted by Cordero and asked to pay some $4,000 in fraudulent closing fees for a time-share property in Kissimmee, Florida.

Detectives from the department were able to track Mikel’s payment to a mailbox in Beverly Hills, California, and found that the money was then forwarded to Orlando. Following the lead to Florida, subpoenaed records revealed it was Cordero’s signature that cashed Mikel’s check.

The Kosciusko County Prosecutor Office contacted law enforcement officers in Florida and launched a surveillance expedition on Cordero’s property. It was not until Feb. 13 that officers were able to obtain a search warrant for Cordero’s property, but prior to executing the warrant, undercover officers casing Cordero witnessed an illegal drug deal going on in his house.

About 30 Florida officers, including K.C.S.D. Detective J.D. Ayres raided the home and found an estimated $30,000 in pre-packaged marijuana ready for distribution.

They also found documents, computers and phones owned by Cordero, which investigators are now analyzing to see if anyone else has been scammed.

Cordero is in custody in Florida in connection to his drug arrest; however, Kosciusko County has issued an active felony warrant for theft and fraud with a $10,000 bond.

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