Former Shaq-owned Ferrari recovered in federal drug bust
A silver Ferrari once owned by by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal was recovered following a federal drug bust, reports The Detroit News.
The drug bust took place in 2011, but the story is only just coming to light after the individual at the center of it all - former Packard Motor Car Co. plant owner Romel Casab - pleaded guilty in December.
The car, a V8-powered silver 1999 Ferrari F355 SpiderCQ with the vanity plate “Shaq F1,” was owned by O’Neal from around 1996-2004 during his time with the LA Lakers. The car, which had to undergo modifications for the seven-footer to comfortably fit, was featured in a 2003 episode of MTV’s “Cribs.”
According to The Detroit News, Indiana auctioneer Dean Kruse and a partner bought the Ferrari as an investment. In 2007, Kruse donated it to America’s Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio, founded by Robert Signom.
Signom, who was also the curator at the museum, ended up getting to know Casab. Then, in early 2011, Casab paid Signom a $15,000 deposit and drove the car home, pondering whether he should buy it.
Before he made a decision, however, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, believing Casab had used drug money to purchase jewelry, fine art and other valuables, started its raid on April 12, 2011.
Federal drug agents seized many items of value, including a 1928 Studebaker, a 2007 Bentley, a 1988 Ferrari and three Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The “Shaq F1” Ferrari, found at Casab’s home, was also seized.
After learning of the Raid, Signom fought to try and get the Ferrari back. For over a year, Signom had to try and convince the Justice Department that the Ferrari belonged in his museum. Signom, who is also a lawyer, reckons he lost $100,000 in lost time at work trying to get the Ferrari back.
Unfortunately for Signom, the ending was not an entirely happy one as, while the museum did get the “Shaq F1” Ferrari back in July 2012, it was only returned after the museum agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty.
One year later, Signom decided to sell the Prancing Horse through Signifcant Cars - an Indiana company that sells collectible vehicles. Signom does not recall who the vehicle was sold to or how much it went for.
Casab was eventually indicted on federal drug and firearm charges, but then later agreed to plea guilty to a low-level felony, admitting that he knew one of his warehouse tenants was growing marijuana but that he failed to alert law enforcement. Casab faces 0-6 months in prison when sentenced March 17.
Click HERE for the full story at The Detroit News.