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Local cop facing federal drug charges

June 07, 2011

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A local city police officer was arrested last week and charged in federal court with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Court records indicate that the former Miami police officer is accused of taking drugs from dope dealers and selling them on his own. Roberto Asanza was six year veteran of the City of Miami Police Departments crime suppression unit. The unit has operated in the streets for years playing a major role in taking drugs off of the streets. Many believe that all police officers are to be trusted. While the arrest of an officer may seem unfortunate to some, Miami criminal defense attorneys know that criminal cases fall apart when officers listed as witnesses in their client's case are arrested or indicted. Prosecutors cannot proceed with criminal charges against a defendant if the police officer involved in the case is charged with criminal conduct.

In Miami, we are constantly reminded that law enforcement officials are just a capable of committing crimes as anyone else in the community. U.S Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer, along with the FBI agents and City of Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito, publically announced the arrest of the Miami police officer. The FBI claims that the defendant along with other crime suppression officers arrested a man for drug possession and seized multiple bags of cocaine and marijuana. A few weeks after the seizure, FBI agents stopped Asanza and allegedly found ten bags of cocaine and two bags of marijuana in his vehicle that were purportedly seized in the earlier bust. The defendant allegedly consented to the search allowed the agents to find ten bags of cocaine and two bags of marijuana. The FBI subsequently determined that these drugs formed part of the cache taken in the Allapattah dope arrest.

The FBI investigation with the assistance of the City of Miami Police Department, now also involves Asanza's supervisor. According, to the FBI affidavit, in January 2010, Asanza and a fellow Miami police officer, identified as "R.I.," recruited a confidential informant (CI) to work with the undercover squad. "R.I.", according to the press, is Raul Iglesias, 38, a Miami police sergeant, and a 16-year veteran of the force. Iglesias apparently was formerly in charge of the Central District's suppression unit. He was suspended, with pay, from that position after the FBI's stop of Asanza's vehicle. Iglesias, who has not been charged, remains under investigation by both the FBI and the City of Miami police. Federal prosecutors will undoubtedly seek assistance from Asanza to prosecute Iglesias. The defense attorney representing Asanza will have to determine the strength of the government's case before advising his client to provide information against a fellow officer.

In October of last year, Asanza reportedly admitted to the FBI that he and Iglesias took drugs and money from the Allapattah drug dealer, following a tip they received from their CI. Asanza, according to the FBI, also acknowledged that he and Iglesias paid the CI with drugs and money, this apparently in an effort, per Asanza's reported statement to the FBI, to build a relationship with the CI that could prove useful in the future. The CI allegedly received about $120, including $80 taken from the drug dealer, and two bags of cocaine from Asanza and Iglesias. If convicted, Asanza could be receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

FBI Bust Miami Cop on Drug Charge, The Miami, June 2, 2011.
Categories: Public Corruption
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