Miami Police Officer Jose Maldonado-Dick accepted a plea bargain last week in which he admitted to accepting bribes to essentially serve as security for drug dealers while they were making sales. This apparently was something he had been doing prior to the two instances for which he was arrested in October of 2014.
Unfortunately for him, a police informant tipped off some of his co-workers that Ofc. Maldonado-Dick was involved in drug sales. They then set up two additional drug deals, which they recorded.
According to testimony at his trial, Maldonado-Dick received $1,900 in exchange for sitting inside his patrol car, with his department issued pistol drawn and ready to murder someone, while two staged drug deals took place. He also offered some helpful “how-to’s” on being a better drug dealer between the sales.
Via NBC 6 Miami:
Maldonado-Dick allegedly used his uniform, gun and badge to protect drug dealers and make sure they were safe to conduct their transactions on the streets…
According to the arrest affidavit, a confidential police informant called Maldonado-Dick to arrange two illegal drug transactions involving large amounts of cocaine. The informant told Maldonado he needed protection during the transactions, according to prosecutors.
Maldonado met with the informant several times and oversaw the two drug transactions conducted by the informant and an undercover officer, according to the affidavit. For one of the transactions, Maldonado-Dick suggested they use the McDonald’s parking lot near his patrol area, the affidavit said. The officer allegedly arrived to each meeting in his marked City of Miami Police patrol car. He was dressed in full uniform and armed with his standard issue Glock handgun, the affidavit said.
Because of the fact he used a gun while playing bodyguard for what he thought were drug dealers, Maldonado-Dick was originally facing a life sentence for each of his two trafficking charges. Typically, Florida courts are particularly harsh in regards to cocaine based charges due it’s prevalence there and have very long mandatory minimum sentencing restrictions along with a reluctance to offer plea bargains. In fact:
It is important to note that prosecutors do not waive minimum mandatory prison sentences, reduce charges, or offer reduced sentences just because your criminal defense attorney asked them to. It also makes no difference whether you are willing to do community service hours, seek counseling or attend rehab.
The only thing that would motivate a prosecutor to act on a trafficking in cocaine case is a legal issue or an evidentiary problem. (Emphasis added)
Unlike possession of cocaine for personal use, trafficking in cocaine is the most severe commercial drug offense. Someone charged with trafficking in cocaine should not expect any mercy whatsoever from prosecutors.
Of course, if you’re wearing a magic suit and shiny badge while trafficking coke then those prosecutors are much more merciful than they are with ordinary victims of the War on (Some) Drugs, even when you were caught on video doing it and the evidence is pretty much airtight. Instead of a life sentence or even the 15 year mandatory minimum for the crimes he was originally charged with, Ofc. Maldonado-Dick was offered a plea bargain for just three and a half years in jail and another three years probation.