In 2022, a man was killed in Miami area hotel. Police believe Sinaloa Cartel involved

A man was gunned down at an adults-only hotel near Miami International Airport in late 2022. More than a year later, a suspected member of the Sinaloa Cartel is behind bars in connection to the killing.

Jimmy Sanchez, 36, was arrested Friday and now faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He’s being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center without bond.

Police linked Sanchez — and a woman by the name of Tsvia Kol — to the shooting death of 46-year-old Julio Gonzalez, according to an arrest warrant from February. Gonzalez was found with a gunshot wound to the head on Nov. 30, 2022 in room 304 of the Aladdin Hotel, 901 S. Royal Poinciana Blvd, in Miami Springs.

A photo of Julio Gonzalez, 46, who was murdered Wednesday at the Aladdin Hotel, 901 S. Royal Poinciana Blvd.
A photo of Julio Gonzalez, 46, who was murdered Wednesday at the Aladdin Hotel, 901 S. Royal Poinciana Blvd.

Though Kol — allegedly a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel — is mentioned in the warrant, she hasn’t been charged in the killing, according to court records. Police say Kol was also married to a high-ranking cartel member. The cartel, formerly led by drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is an international organized crime syndicate focused on drug trafficking and money laundering.

Kol is jailed in Broward on a U.S. Marshals Service hold pending a sentencing in an unrelated federal drug trafficking case. She was indicted for it 21 days before the murder, court records show.

Prior to her arrest, Kol admitted to her involvement in the cartel and agreed to stop trafficking drugs and cooperate with federal agents, according to court records. She was detained after being dropped as an informant, with prosecutors arguing that the Israeli national would flee the country. Israel doesn’t extradite their citizens.

Kol, described by a judge as having a “long-standing and serious dependence on meth,” had her sentencing postponed due to defense attorneys aiming to “resolve an unrelated matter that could have a significant effect” on the case, records indicate.

However, on the night of Nov. 29, 2022, Miami-Dade police allege that Kol lured Gonzalez to the hotel, sealing his fate.

‘I don’t want them to see me’

At around 8:15 p.m., 35-year-old Kol arrived to the hotel in a black Kia sedan with a red SUV following her, according to police. She rented room 304 for 12 hours, leaving her Florida driver’s license at the front desk. The SUV, according to the warrant, was driven by someone identified as “Torres;” Sanchez was in the passenger seat.

Kol and Sanchez started communicating three days before, with Kol coordinating Sanchez’s travel from San Diego, according to a digital extraction of her cellphone. When Sanchez arrived to Miami, he rented the red SUV from Hertz and drove to Hallandale Beach, where he linked up with Kol.

Shortly after, the group got back in their cars and left the hotel. But that wasn’t the last time surveillance cameras captured them there.

Throughout the night, Kol exchanged a string of Instagram messages with Gonzalez, the warrant states. Right before 10 p.m., the pair planned how Gonzalez would enter the hotel for them to meet.

“I don’t want them to see me,” Kol said in one of the messages, as per the warrant. “Ring the bell.”

Footage places Gonzalez arriving to the front of the hotel at about 10:30 p.m., according to the warrant. Kol then got in her vehicle and headed to pick him up. Gonzalez was in the front passenger seat, though the seat was leaned back to hide him from the hotel employee at the drive-thru window.

The duo entered the lobby through the back door at about 10:45 p.m., the warrant says. Fifteen minutes later, Kol made a brief 30-second call to Sanchez. Cameras caught Sanchez entering the lobby and heading toward room 304 by 11:20 p.m.

Minutes later, Gonzalez dialed 911 and said “in Aladdin Hotel” and “Yes, urgent” when a dispatcher asked if he needed police assistance, according to the warrant. The dispatcher overheard a struggle — and Gonzalez shouting “No, no, no” before gunshots rang out.

Sanchez and Kol left the room at about 11:35 p.m., when Miami Springs police responded to the hotel, the warrant states. The officers didn’t find the disturbance and left without filing a report. A hotel manager uncovered Gonzalez’s body in a pool of blood the next morning when she went to the room to collect overdue rent.

Planned execution?

One of the two suspects came to the attention of Miami-Dade detectives on the same day of the murder, the warrant indicates.

Hours after Gonzalez was found shot to death, police interviewed his ex-girlfriend, with whom he stayed in touch despite them no longer being together. She reported that just five days before the murder, Gonzalez posted a photo of a woman named “Sapir Kol,” and asserted “If something happens to me, it’s her,” according to the warrant.

Investigators say they linked Kol to a Facebook account by that same name.

The ex-girlfriend told police she had asked Gonzalez about Kol, but he said he couldn’t speak about the post over the phone, according to the warrant. She said Gonzalez visited her shortly after and shared that Kol was threatening to kill him.

The investigation continued to unravel when officers received a call from a Hialeah police narcotics detective, the warrant states. On Nov. 16, 2022, the detective said, the DEA intercepted a UPS package with 11 pounds of crystal meth inside.

The parcel was associated with Gonzalez — and was being sent to a nearby home in his Hialeah Gardens neighborhood, the warrant says. During a stakeout, detectives witnessed Gonzalez searching for the package.

After being interviewed, Gonzalez told authorities he had been approached by an unknown man who told him four men were looking for him at the casino “because he had a package for them.”