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Secretaries Suspended Over Phone Sex

February 24, 1998 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ Two secretaries in the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office have been suspended without pay over allegations they had phone sex with a confessed cocaine ring hitman and cashed money orders he sent them.

Prosecutors fear the women’s relationship with federal prisoner Jorge Ayala could jeopardize next month’s triple murder trial of Griselda ``The Godmother″ Blanco. Ayala is a witness in the case and the secretaries had access to prosecutors’ files.

The two veteran secretaries, Sherry Rossbach and Raquel Navarro, were suspended Friday, pending the outcome of the investigation. Both secretaries work in the major crimes division of the state attorney’s office. Rossbach works directly for Assistant State Attorney Catherine Vogel, the prosecutor in the Blanco case.

At least one phone conversation between Rossbach and Ayala was taped, The Miami Herald reported today. Neither of the secretaries could be reached for comment, the newspaper said.

Don Nelson, executive director of the state attorney’s office, confirmed Monday that investigators uncovered evidence last week that the two women conducted sexually explicit phone calls with Ayala and cashed money orders he sent them through the mail room at the state attorney’s office.

It was unclear if the calls were made from work.

Prosecutors want to know how close a relationship Rossbach and Navarro had with Ayala, what they might have told him and how that might affect the ability of the office to prosecute the case against Blanco.

The secretaries handling the case would have reason to speak with Ayala on the phone because he is a witness in the Blanco contract-murder case.

Ayala, 40, was accused of being one of Blanco’s most loyal soldiers when she ran one of the biggest and deadliest cocaine rings during the 1980s. Police have connected her to at least 40 homicides as matriarch of a ring run by her three eldest sons.

Apparently cultivating her image as ``The Godmother″ of cocaine trafficking, she named her fourth son Michael Corleone, the name of the character in the Godfather book and movies, authorities have said.

She is charged in Miami with first-degree murder for allegedly arranging three contract killings in 1982 that took the lives of drug dealers Alfredo and Grizel Lorenzo, and a 2-year-old boy, Johnny Castro, who was hit by bullets meant for his father.


In November 1993, Ayala pleaded guilty to being one of the shooters. He was sentenced to life in prison and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He currently is in a county jail cell in Miami while he waits to testify.

Gov. Lawton Chiles will appoint a special prosecutor for the investigation of the secretaries because it poses a conflict of interest for the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office. State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle learned of the situation Thursday.