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Slice of Vice: More Miami cops are arrested

3 minute read

As television viewers know, crime in Miami revolves around the cocaine trade. But the policemen who are supposed to put dopers behind bars are not often like TV’s cool, sockless heroes with stern moral codes. Christmas week brought more grim tidings of internal vice in the Miami police department. First, the city’s tough-talking, Stetson-wearing police chief, Clarence Dickson, announced that two former officers had been charged with stealing 150 lbs. of cocaine. Less than 24 hours later, four additional Miami policemen were arrested in connection with an ugly coke deal that led to three deaths last summer.

The stolen-cocaine case began last May, when Miami officers seized 850 lbs. of “nose candy” in a raid on a lobster boat. Trouble was, the raiding party had been informed the load would be 1,000 lbs. The trail of the missing 150 lbs. of coke, worth $2 million, led to former Officers Felix Beruvides and Armando Lopez, who had recently been fired from the force when they refused to take mandatory urinalysis tests that would have indicated whether they were drug users. Police sources said the two rogue cops had boarded the boat before the raid and made off with several duffel bags of cocaine.

An even more serious investigation began in July, when three bodies clad in designer jeans were found floating in the Miami River. Informants telephoned the U.S. Customs Service’s drug hotline to report that the trio was part of a group of six men guarding a boatload of 300 to 400 kilos of cocaine. When approached by a menacing gang of eight to twelve men wearing what appeared to be Miami police uniforms, all six dopers went over the side. Halfevidently drowned; the other three have not been found. The blue uniformed men, meanwhile, fled with the cocaine.

Through wiretaps, investigators learned that the gang had included active-duty Miami policemen. Lawmen nabbed four officers and two civilians last week. A former Miami officer is being sought as a suspected accomplice. Three of the policemen face murder charges, as well as counts of racketeering, robbery, cocaine trafficking and aggravated battery.

The roundup brought to eleven the number of Miami cops arrested on drug-related charges in 1985. As investigations continued to uncover corrupt cops in the Miami area, Chief Dickson, 51, took a no-nonsense approach toward his embattled department. “We will wipe out corruption wherever it exists,” said Dickson, who has been in his job for only a year. “We will always take the pro-active approach because we are Miami.”

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