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Sundial: From black market 'fajas' to pigeon races, David Ovalle covered Miami’s sketchiest stories

Courtesy of David Ovalle
David Ovalle — front, wearing a USC mask — covered crime and courts for the Miami Herald for two decades.

If you came across a bizarre Miami crime story, it was probably written by David Ovalle.

He’s kind of had an inside track on it. You write about crime and the courts for the Miami Herald for the better part of 20 years, you’re gonna write some Florida Man stories.

Just consider this trail of crooked characters he came across.

There were the guys running a black market for body-shaping Colombian fajas. The ring of scammers who stole gas, pumped it into a DIY tank in the back of their trucks and sold it by the side of the road. And the guy who stabbed a friend over a pigeon race.

He’s always thinking about the people in his stories. Not just the strangeness of the crime, but mostly about what drives people to do crazy things.

Ovalle is leaving for the Washington Post. He’ll be writing about drug abuse in America — about the people and the families it hurts and the companies who are to blame.

On the Jan. 23 episode of Sundial, we talk to Ovalle about his next chapter.

On Sundial's previous episode, we spoke to Claudia Forestieri, the creator of Gordita Chronicles on HBO Max, a comedy about a gordita growing up in Miami during the 1980s. Forestieri told us about her plans for the show after it was canceled and unceremoniously pulled from HBO Max.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us via text by joining our Sundial text club. Send us your thoughts, ideas or questions by texting the word “join” to 786-677-0767. You can also email us at sundial@wlrnnews.org

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.