How did a shot-up Mercedes end up in Key Largo?

A Miami Gardens man was stopped by Florida Keys deputies late Tuesday night in a bullet-riddled Mercedes-Benz that the man said was shot up in a gun battle near the Hialeah racetrack and casino.

Monroe County sheriff’s deputies found five bullet holes in the rear and passenger side of the car, spokesman Adam Linhardt said.

Also, a loaded Tec-9 semiautomatic pistol was found in the front passenger seat, Linhardt said, as well as 2 ounces of marijuana contained in a blood-covered plastic bag in the trunk.

The driver, Daniesky Morales Farinas, 28, was arrested on charges of motor vehicle theft, carrying a concealed weapon without a license, marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license.

A deputy pulled him over at a Key Largo McDonald’s restaurant near mile marker 100 on U.S. 1. The deputy received a call from dispatch that the car was stolen and there may be a gun inside. Deputy Jose Hernandez held Farinas at gunpoint until backup arrived.

According to Linhardt, Farinas told deputies he stole the car from his ex-girlfriend in Miami Beach on Sunday to drive to Georgia for a court date. He missed the court appointment and drove back to Miami-Dade County the same day, he told deputies, according to Linhardt.

He said he planned to return the car to his ex Tuesday evening, but first stopped to pick his cousin up at Hialeah Park Racing and Casino.

It was there he said four men in a BMW opened fire on him and his cousin, striking the latter in the head. Farinas said he dropped his cousin off at Hialeah Hospital. He told deputies he then picked up his cousin’s girlfriend and took her to the hospital, Linhardt said.

Farinas told investigators his grandmother called him to say several people were looking for him, so he decided to drive to Marathon in the Middle Keys to hide out with family there.

Hialeah police did not immediately respond to questions about the shooting.

Linhardt said the Hialeah department was investigating the incident. Hialeah detectives interviewed Farinas in Plantation Key jail, where he remained with no bond information available Wednesday afternoon.