Feds: 3 Miami cops took bribes to guard drug traffickers (VIDEO)

Press Conference announcing federal charges on 3 Miami Police Officers. Miami Police Department

Posted by Miami Police Department on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday announced three Miami police officers have been charged after they took cash to protect what they thought was a high-level illegal drug operation.

Charged with a variety of drug and weapons violations were Miami Police Department Officers Schonton Harris, Kelvin Harris, and James Archibald, for their involvement in providing protection to individuals they thought were drug dealers but were, in fact, undercover federal agents. At a press conference, officials said the sting was put in play after a tip from a concerned citizen.

“We are committed to protecting our communities and eliminating corruption,” said MPD Chief Jorge Colina. “Once the City of Miami Police Department was made aware of the suspected criminal conduct, we immediately reached out to our federal partners to ensure that any officer who breaks the law faces appropriate consequences.”

As detailed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the three officers thought they were riding shotgun over deliveries of cocaine, opioids and drug money, in exchange for cash payments.

Schonton Harris started off providing an escort for a courier to area banks to deposit what she was told was money from pharmacies and clinics that were in the business of selling opioids illegally. She then stepped up her involvement by escorting “cocaine” to a Miami hotel, provided protection, along with Kelvin Harris, to someone she was told was a money launderer, and sold an MPD uniform and badge to an undercover officer posing as a drug trafficker for $1,500. She had been told the uniform and badge would be used by a hitman to kill someone who violated the trafficker’s trust.

Archibald joined with the two other officers to work as armed escorts for two large shipments, one of 40-kilograms and another of 30-kilograms, of what they believed was cocaine intended for street distribution, going so far as to take possession of the sham drugs themselves.

For their work, often done armed and in uniform, the three pocketed between $6,500 and $17,000 in bribes.

“No one wants corrupt officers in our police departments or on our streets,” U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan said.

Each of the officers faces as much as life in prison if convicted.

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