The brazen robbery of drug kingpin German Jimenez Panesso’s Miami home in the spring of 1978 set off a chain of events eventually resulting in the infamous Dadeland Mall Massacre in nearby Kendall, Florida over a year later. Panesso, 37, and his bodyguard Juan Carlos Hernandez, 22, were gunned down at Dadeland Mall’s Crown Liquors 40 years ago this week on July 11, 1979. The slayings shocked the public conscience and proved a tipping point in South Florida drug culture, leading to what has been called the Cocaine Cowboys Era of the 1980s known for neon-lit nightlife, excessive partying and even more bloodshed in and around the beaches of Miami and Coconut Grove. The decision of local drug world heavy Jamie Suescun to burglarize Panesso’s residence in April 1978 put the whole bloody mess into motion. Suescun was partners with Miami drug don Carlos Panello Ramirez. Panesso and Ramirez were both being supplied their cocaine by Colombia’s Medellin cartel and its female crew boss Griselda (The Godmother) Blanco, a top lieutenant of narco-terrorist and global villain Pablo Escoba. Suescun and his crew hit Panesso’s pad on April 17 for $500,000 and 10 kilos of cocaine while tying up and blindfolding Panesso, his wife and children and strangling his maid Ester Rios to death in the course of the home invasion. An incensed Panesso vowed swift vengeance. On April 23, 1978, Suescun was lured to a Miami Beach townhouse under the pretense of selling the 10 keys of blow he lifted from Panesso’s place. In reality, it was a setup. Suescun was marked for death. Panesso and his men beat and tortured Suescun to death. They hogtied his body in a way where he ended up strangling himself. While dumping the body, Panesso’s men got into a shootout with Suescun’s soldiers, who had followed their boss to the sham coke deal. When police arrived, they found Suescun’s body in the trunk of a black-colored Audi and four of Panesso’s men (Ruben Echeverria, Julio Gaona, Jorge Luiis de Campo and Osear Penagos Rios) dead in the same parking lot. Even after Suescun’s execution, Panesso’s thirst for revenge wasn’t quenched. He wanted Suescun’s partner Carlos Panello Ramirez to pay for the break-in as well. Ramirez went to Griselda Blanco for help. Blanco owed Panesso over a million bucks and saw Suescun’s beef with Ramirez as a way of sliding out of her debt. She ordered a squad of her most reliable assassins to murder Panesso as a favor to Ramirez.
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