But when the United States began eyeing the Mexican traffic around 2000, smugglers quickly regrouped. "Given the high levels of corruption in Bahamian authorities and a limited capacity to enforce, and the U.S.'s increasing focus on Central America and Mexico, the Bahamas were ripe for use once again," says Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami professor who studies the drug trade.

Among the Colombians dusting off the old routes was Elías Cobos-Muñoz. Around 1999, the dealer from Colombia's north coast began outsourcing product to the States by teaming with traffickers in Caribbean countries such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

The Bahamian pipeline was fronted by two bosses — Melvin "Mel" Maycock Sr. and Pedro "Grand Daddy" Smith. By air and water, the pair landed drugs in South Florida, circumventing traditional drop-offs in Miami-Dade for sites in Broward and Palm Beach.

After a decade, Gary Karp is still pushing for resolution in the murder of his daughter.
Monica McGivern
After a decade, Gary Karp is still pushing for resolution in the murder of his daughter.
After spending time in shelters for troubled youth, Marissa Karp ran from the state in April 2002.
Courtesy of Gary Karp
After spending time in shelters for troubled youth, Marissa Karp ran from the state in April 2002.

At any one time, the network was moving as much as three tons of cocaine — between 10 to 12 percent of what America was putting up its nose at the time, plus a half-ton of marijuana. During half a decade, the operation grossed around $275 million.

Among the Bahamians speedboating drugs to South Florida at the time were Almanto Coakley and Eloyn Devon Ingraham, two men who would become critical in the case of Marissa Karp. Ingraham, age 24, was a fierce-eyed repeat offender who had served time for theft, burglary, assault, and marijuana possession. Coakley was a 28-year-old bantam-weight Bahamian topping out at five-foot-nine with a small swashbuckler mustache, a wide nose, a lion inked on one arm, and "Latoya" printed on the other.

Coakley and Ingraham managed a group of about a half-dozen Bahamians and two native Americans who ran the drugs over the water from the beaches of Bimini to South Florida. Of every ten kilos they moved, nine would be sold to distributors in college towns such as Gainesville and Tallahassee.

They'd move the remaining kilo — worth about $100,000 at the time — from a cramped rear apartment located in a quiet tangle of streets west of U.S. 1 in Hallandale Beach. The building was called Sue's Efficiencies. It was a run-down shotgun chopped into five units, each no larger than a glorified closet space. In the summer of 2002, Coakley was paying the rent for the apartment.

"They weren't the main guys," says Broward Sheriff's Det. John Curcio, "but they were high enough in the food chain where they were delivering the cocaine to the distributors all over the place."

How Marissa Karp fell in with drug dealers is anybody's guess. The two worlds could have overlapped when she was moving from shelter to shelter after leaving her grandmother's home. Marissa might have surfed open couches and crash pads until landing in Hallandale Beach. But by late summer 2002, the 17-year-old girl everyone called "Shorty" was living with Coakley. Multiple witnesses would later tell police the suburban-bred girl and Bahamian drug dealer were a couple.

After Marissa's body was found, those same witnesses would begin to fill in the picture about her last hours. Police documents and affidavits show that on the evening of August 18, Coakley and one of his alleged henchmen, Thaddeus Sondej, were having dinner at a house in Hollywood when Ingraham called. There was an emergency at the Hallandale Beach apartment.

Although no one has been charged with Marissa's murder, police files describe an account of that evening from various witnesses and pieces of evidence.

As the clock swung through the early-morning hours of August 19, Coakley and Sondej arrived at the apartment. Soon they were joined by Sondej's brother, who drove a truck. Pinging cell-phone towers would later track Coakley, Sondej, and the brother north on I-95, then west on I-595, and finally to I-75, where they journeyed deep into the Everglades.

At the highway's 52-mile marker, they tossed a garbage bag into a nearby canal and hoped alligators would eat the contents.

In the following days, word spread that Ingraham had murdered the girl after an argument, witnesses would later tell police. Potential fall guys were discussed. Ingraham disappeared for three days after the incident, witnesses said.

A neighbor at Sue's Efficiencies would later state she'd heard a muffled gunshot echo from the back apartment on the night in question. A search of the cramped room eventually turned up a bullet hole in the fridge.


Gary Karp had little preparation for his new role: the father of a violent-crime victim.

Before Marissa's death, all he knew about criminal investigations came from television, where cases wrapped before the credits. His thoughts about the death penalty didn't push much deeper than vague opposition.

Tragedy struck elsewhere, to other people, he thought. In 2001, he watched with the rest of America as Washington, D.C., police searched for Chandra Levy, a missing 24-year-old government intern later found murdered. The woman came from a family like his own. "These types of things didn't happen to nice Jewish families," Gary says.

At first it all seemed like a nightmare. When he finally accepted the situation, Gary tried to burrow beneath work at the soap store. But he couldn't think about anything except the crime. In 2002, the business closed.

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My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
problum
problum

I felt empathy for Gary Karp until I read this: "I never really believed in the death penalty. Now, you know the saying, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?' No, two eyes." So Gary never could imagine what a victim's family felt until he became a victim's family member?  I lose all respect for people like this, who are anti-death penalty until a member of their family is murdered and then become pro-death penalty.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

@problum This says so much about you. You never had empathy for this man. You are pathetic.

erikdenning
erikdenning

@problum Yes, it's ridiculous for someone's views to change after experiencing something so traumatic firsthand. Life experience should never affect our world views.

problum
problum

@MrEFQ @problum Wrong - I had empathy for Karp just like I do for every victim of a crime - I just do not have respect for any person whose viewpoints on crime are only those which have happened to himself personally.  Karp is very narrow-minded, only thinking of himself when it came to the Death Penalty.  At least Karp is finally Pro-Death Penalty - but it took the death of his daughter to change his mind and make him Pro-Death Penalty.

problum
problum

@erikdenning @problum It's very narrow-minded, short-sighted and SELFISH to hold viewpoints that change only when they affect YOU PERSONALLY!  Where was his empathy for other fathers whose daughters had been killed?  He didn't have any empathy for them, just himself.  wah wah wah

problum
problum

@mcytmaccracker You are anti-death penalty because a member of your family is either in prison, on parole or on probation.  Admit it, you know it's true.  Probably STD-infected too.

mcytmaccracker
mcytmaccracker

@problum @MrEFQ I'm anti death penalty, and will dedicate all my efforts henceforth to wrongfully convict a member of your family, just to see if your views change. Because they will. Because you're an idiot.

MrEFQ
MrEFQ

@problum @MrEFQ It is pretty funny that you think you have a valid point.

Anyways, I still don't believe that you ever had empathy for him.

problum
problum

@erikdenning @problum I never stated "all of his views on life only changed when they affected him personally".  That's awfully presumptuous of you. I only stated what was in the article, how he changed from being against the death penalty to wanting to doubly-kill a convicted murderer ("two eyes for an eye") once his daughter was killed.  I have always supported the death penalty and always will without having anyone in my family killed because I have compassion for the victims, including Mr. Karp.  I just don't have respect for him.  And speaking of belligerence - You responded to me to start this flame war.

erikdenning
erikdenning

@problum@erikdenning

 @problum@erikdenning Where did you learn that ALL of his views on life only changed when they affected him personally? This is one specific, and very extreme example. If one of your views changed because of a horrific, life-altering experience, I wouldn't generalize that ALL of your beliefs had the same kind of roots, just as I wouldn't presume from a single posting on the internet that you are a self-righteous and belligerent person.  

"Where was his empathy for other fathers whose daughters had been killed?  He didn't have any empathy for them, just himself." 

Do you know this guy? Do you have transcripts confirming this or something? From where do you have such insight into his heart and mind. And don't say ESP. That would be cheating. 

You seem awfully eager to dislike this guy and you are filling in a lot of blanks with your own presumptions to do it.


 
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