MIAMI, FL. – Today, a federal magistrate judge in Ft. Lauderdale ordered Horvin McKenzie, Jr., 28, detained pending his federal trial on attempted murder, narcotics, and firearms charges. McKenzie is one of the two men arrested last month after shots were fired at law enforcement officers working a drug trafficking investigation in Dania Beach, Florida.
According to court documents, McKenzie and his co-defendant, David Johnathan Ventura, 32, of Miami, conspired to sell two kilograms of cocaine to another person. The criminal complaint affidavit alleges the following: McKenzie, Ventura, and the buyer met at a retail store parking lot in Dania Beach on Friday, April 23, to make the deal. Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) learned of the scheduled deal and went to the meeting location. After confirming that McKenzie and Ventura had arrived at the parking lot, LEOs activated the emergency lights on their vehicles. While wearing protective vests that identified the LEOs as such, LEOs approached the defendants, who were in separate cars. As they neared Ventura’s car, Ventura produced a firearm and began shooting at the approaching LEOs, hitting a detective in his arm and his bullet-proof vest. LEOs returned fire, hitting Ventura. McKenzie and Ventura were taken into custody. Ventura is currently in the hospital in stable condition. LEOs found a bag containing approximately two kilograms of cocaine and a Beretta .9mm semi-automatic handgun in Ventura’s car. They also found a loaded Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun in McKenzie’s car.
McKenzie and Ventura are charged with Attempted Murder of a Person Assisting DEA Agents in Performance of Their Duties; Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine; Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine; and Possession of a Firearm During and Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. If convicted, both men face up to life in prison with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida; and La Verne Hibbert, Acting Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
DEA Miami investigated this narcotics case, with assistance from Broward Sheriff’s Office, Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Margate Police Department, Coconut Creek Police Department, Plantation Police Department, and Wilton Manors Police Department. Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ajay J. Alexander is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-MJ-6264.