Retired detective who investigated River Cops and Cocaine Cowboy murders dies at 85

  • In US
  • 2021-10-18 20:02:22Z
  • By Miami Herald

Lloyd Hough, a military intelligence officer who served with the Virginia State Police before joining the Miami-Dade Police Department where he worked cases involving the the Miami River Cops and the Cocaine Cowboys, died last week from lung disease and Parkinson's Syndrome.

Hough, 85, was born in Smith County, Mississippi, and spent most of his life in South Florida after the avid hunter sold his 300-acre Georgia farm two years ago. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nikki Hough.

"He absolutely loved his work and he loved his family," Nikki, 80, said this week from her Palmetto Bay home. "I loved him because he was kind and he was honest and he was a man of great integrity. And he was just the best husband ever."

After growing up in Houston, Hough joined the military in 1956, working his way up intelligence operations. From there he went to work for the Virginia State Police and later began a career with Miami-Dade in 1967.

Hough spent almost two decades as a homicide detective in Miami-Dade, investigating some of the county's most high-profile murders. Among them, homicides connected to notorious Ricky Cravero and his gang, believed to be responsible for as many as 40 executions.

Cravero served a life sentence for three murders. He was convicted in the 1974 St. Valentine's Day murder of Stanley Harris, who was shot 23 times outside a bar. And after the conviction in 1976, he pleaded guilty to murdering drug dealer Randy Bethel in the Florida Keys.

A prosecutor named Terrence McWilliams once said of Cravero: "That's one of the few trials where I lived with a rifle leaning up against the side of my bed. He liked killing people."

Hough also worked on the Miami River Cops case in which a group of police officers stormed a boat on the Miami River behind Jones Boatyard and stole millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Three of the men on the boat jumped overboard and drowned.

By the time the investigation into the ripoff finished, 20 cops involved in corruption, coercion and cocaine ripoffs were convicted and sent to prison.

Later, Hough would work several cases involving the Cocaine Cowboys, a series of armed gunfights between drug lords that broke out over the cocaine trade. It made South Florida the murder capital of the nation in the 1980s.

After serving in homicide, Hough moved on to internal affairs and later was the sergeant-at-arms for Miami-Dade county commissioners. It was at that post that Hough and County Clerk Harvey Ruvin made for a top-notch crime-fighting duo.

In March 1989, Ruvin and Hough were on their way back from lunch at Bayside Marketplace when they noticed a tourist fighting with someone trying to rip him off behind a hotel on Biscayne Boulevard. When the tourist punched the older man and stole his wife's purse, Ruvin and Hough began their vehicular pursuit.

It came to a halt when the robber tossed the purse out the window and Ruvin and Hough decided to grab it and give up the chase. Inside: $500.

"He was a dear friend," Ruvin said. "I always have him in my heart. He was a loyal friend and he was a dedicated public servant."

In addition to his wife, he is survived by granddaughter Raychel Feldman and nephews Doug and Richard Hulbert.

The family chose to forego services for Hough, who died on Oct. 13.


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