Two Miami Cops Charged With Aiding Cocaine Traffickers in FBI Sting

Two veteran Miami police officers have been charged in an FBI undercover operation:

Two veteran police officers were charged Friday with providing protection for purported shipments of cocaine and stolen goods in what was actually an undercover FBI operation.

Officer Geovani Nunez and Detective Jorge Hernandez are accused in court documents of helping protect shipments of what they thought were stolen televisions and computers and at least 12 kilograms of cocaine — sometimes by using their police cars to escort trucks.

The officers have been fired. This isn't the first time cops have gone bad in Florida.

The case is similar to a recent FBI sting that led to guilty pleas from five officers in Hollywood, Fla. Four received lengthy prison sentences.


It happened in Arizona too where 11 cops pleaded guilty.

It happened in one of my cases in Fort Lauderdale ten years ago. As I wrote then:

I had a reverse sting case in Fort Lauderdale some years ago where the agents pretended to be sellers and took $200k of my client's money. By the end of the case, a Customs agent and three members of the Hallendale police department went to jail for several years, and my client, whom they had tricked into buying drugs, was released after serving a year in the county jail without bond awaiting trial. Unlike the Arizona case, these agents got caught not for assisting the drug dealers, but for robbing them. But then, what did they do with the drugs they stole except turn around and re-sell them. In other words, they put them back on the street.

From the Miami Herald, 10/29/97 (available on Lexis.com):

Three former Hallandale police officers and an ex-Customs inspector who admitted to a grand scheme to overlook smuggled drugs then rob the traffickers were sentenced Monday in Miami. U.S. District Judge Lenore C. Nesbitt gave out sentences that ranged from six to 7-1/2 years. All four defendants pleaded guilty in May to federal conspiracy and extortion charges after a nine-month joint sting operation by U.S. Customs and the FBI.

The admissions were part of a plea agreement arranged by federal prosecutors, which helped the former officers avoid 25-year maximum sentences, if convicted. The arrests of Officers Gilberto Hernandez and Thomas Murphy and Sgt. John Salazar sent tremors through Hallandale's police ranks. With only 88 sworn personnel, the scandal left deep scars in morale.

Hernandez, a seven-year veteran of the force, confessed that he and a friend, Customs Supervisor Edwin Perez, masterminded the operation. Hernandez received the most severe sentence, 7-1/2 years, and Perez got 6-1/2. Prosecutors said the pair used Perez's knowledge of trafficking routes and airport security to pull profitable heists.

Cops are like everyone else. There are good ones and bad ones. And sometimes, just like other people, good cops do bad things. It's why it makes no sense that juries seem so ready to believe the word of a police officer over other witnesses.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Is it Really extortion when.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Mrwirez on Fri May 30, 2008 at 09:06:33 PM EST
    you are ripping off illegal drug dealers?
    [Serious question.] I get the reselling part.

    Their names weren't (none / 0) (#2)
    by txpolitico67 on Fri May 30, 2008 at 09:07:45 PM EST
    Tubbs and Crockett were they?  

    That's the pits.  A few bad cops make the other, decent, honest ones look bad.  My sister, her husband and their son are police officers here in my town.

    Years ago, the chief of police here in my town was embarrassed by his daughter's live-in boyfriend.  The FBI found out some pretty unsavory things and a host of laws he had broken while being on the force during another investigation.

    Florida, Florida, Florida! I think it's (none / 0) (#3)
    by zfran on Fri May 30, 2008 at 09:31:46 PM EST
    really sad.

    You would think.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Fri May 30, 2008 at 10:26:36 PM EST
    after the thousands of times this happens we'd get wise to the fact prohibition just doesn't work, and in fact makes things worse...in this case increasing the likelyhood of police corruption.

    I didn't realize tvs (none / 0) (#5)
    by waldenpond on Fri May 30, 2008 at 10:51:30 PM EST
    were under prohibition....

    Officer Geovani Nunez and Detective Jorge Hernandez are accused in court documents of helping protect shipments of what they thought were stolen televisions and computers and at least 12 kilograms of cocaine -- sometimes by using their police cars to escort trucks.

    I'm just pointing out that it is the activity not the product... cops might participate in illegal activity whether it's drugs or something else.  If they are so inclined, they will find some way to make money.


    True walden.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Sat May 31, 2008 at 09:28:18 AM EST
    but there is no better avenue than the the black market drug trade for crooked cops to lie, cheat, and steal.

    Prohibition (none / 0) (#6)
    by rmurray4574 on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:02:10 AM EST
    You are right...we should start passing out baggies of cocaine and meth to high school students with intructions on how to properly use the drug. They are going to use it anyway so we might as well show them how to use it in a safe and recreational way.

    Come on now...you are stretching it alittle don't you think.


    Oh yeah... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Sat May 31, 2008 at 09:25:19 AM EST
    because our choices are give it away to kids or strict prohibition...there's no middle ground....c'mon yourself dude.  

    I've got news for ya...it would be harder for kids to get if sold legally in pharmacies or liquor stores.  It wasn't that long ago when I was in high school, I could get you weed and even coke in the lunchroom, getting a beer was more difficult.

    It's not the state's job to keep your kid off dope, thats your job.  Personal responsibility.

    I see the right of free American adults to eat, drink, smoke, sniff, or shoot anything they want as an unalienable natural right.  Freedom can be  dangerous, but also glorious, and preferable to the tyranny of prohibition.


    I have a good FBI Sting Case involving Cops (none / 0) (#7)
    by TomLincoln on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:04:05 AM EST
    I wrote about it at a one of my blogs I have hardly posted to and have not posted to for a very long time - The Best Defense - see http://tinyurl.com/4q45xt