MIAMI — Two women who were jurors on the 1996 trial of a pair of reputed drug kingpins from Miami's era of cocaine cowboys were charged Wednesday with taking bribes to vote for acquittal.
The jury foreman, who previously was convicted of taking a bribe, made the pitch to one of the jurors, federal prosecutors alleged.
Gloria Alba and Maria Penalver were charged along with Alba's husband, Isael, intermediary Raul Sarraff, and Penalver's former boyfriend, Gerald Rodriguez.
Alba and Penalver were accused of taking payoffs to fix the case against drug smuggling partners Willy Falcon and Sal Magluta, who reputedly made a $2 billion profit on 78 tons of smuggled cocaine while turning Miami into the world's drug capital in the 1980s.
The stunning acquittal of Falcon and Magluta led to the resignation of the top federal prosecutor in Miami.
Prosecutors later won convictions of the two men on dozens of other charges covering hits on witnesses, the jury bribes and laundering of drug profits. Magluta is appealing a life sentence and Falcon reached a plea bargain for 20 years in prison.
The charges announced Wednesday do not say how much money Alba and Penalver accepted, but jury foreman Miguel Moya was convicted of taking more than $500,000 in bribes. Gloria Alba testified against Moya at his trial.
Prosecutors said Gloria Alba told Sarraff that she had been summoned for jury duty on Magluta and Falcon's drug trial, and Sarraff told his real estate partner, Jose Fernandez, who allegedly ran illicit errands for Magluta and Falcon.
The charges allege Fernandez asked Magluta during a jail visit if he was interested in bribing Alba, and that after he was given permission Sarraff offered the bribe. Fernandez is serving 12 years for charges relating to the bribes and money laundering.
Moya recruited Penalver a month before jurors delivered their verdict, prosecutors said.
The Albas and Sarraff could face 10-year prison sentences if convicted of obstruction of justice charges.
Penalver faces a possible five years on a conspiracy charge, and Rodriguez five years for allegedly lying to the FBI when he denied knowing about Penalver's bribe.