News and Press Releases

MEMBERS OF OPA LOCKA DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION AND POLICE CAPTAIN CHARGED WITH DRUG OFFENSES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Hugo Barrera, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), and Addy M. Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), announced the indictment of Toriano Johnson, 36, of Opa Locka, Terrence Johnson, 38, of Miramar, Dwayne Miller, 27, of Opa Locka, Jermaine Parrish, 29, of Miami, Antwan Davis, 29, of Miami, Lawrence Benbow, 35, of Miami Gardens, Justin Jean, 27, of Opa Locka, and Arthur Balom, 44, of Miramar, a Captain with the City of Opa Locka Police Department, in connection with their participation in the distribution of cocaine, Ecstacy and Oxycodone in Opa Locka. The charges announced today are the result of two-year joint investigation into drug distribution activities in the City of Opa Locka.

More specifically, the four-count indictment against the eight defendants charges them with various counts of conspiracy to distribute and substantive drug distribution charges. The indictment also includes a forfeiture count. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of up to 40 years in prison. Initial appearances and Pre-trial detention hearings have been scheduled for November 18, 2011 before U. S. Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Drug trafficking is a scourge on our communities. Its effects are even worse when, as in this case, we find police officers, who are sworn to protect and serve our community, instead abuse the public trust and engage in drug trafficking to line their pockets. We are pleased to have discovered and removed this bad apple from the rank and file of honest and working police officers on the force.”

“Today’s arrests and indictment have disrupted and struck a serious blow to a violent, multi-kilo drug trafficking organization based out of Opa Locka. This criminal organization had the alleged assistance of a corrupt Opa Locka Police Captain who misused his position and violated the public's trust by assisting members of this gang in carrying out their criminal activities,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge for FBI Miami. “Our success in this ongoing investigation is the direct result of the exceptional cooperation among the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.”

“These arrests confirm the resolve of the South Florida law enforcement community to stand united in our commitment to bring criminals to justice and to protect the innocent. We will investigate those who choose to break the law and will prosecute them to the full extent of the law,” said Hugo Barrera, ATF Special Agent in Charge.

“We remain committed to arresting individuals that violate the laws of this country and the trust of our community, regardless of their affiliations. This indictment is yet another example of how we successfully continue to work closely with our fellow agencies to combat these crimes,” said Director James K. Loftus, Miami-Dade Police Department.

FDLE Special Agent in Charge Addy M. Villanueva stated, “This organization of violent criminals has plagued the south Florida community for far too long. Through inter-agency cooperation, this group has been arrested and will be brought to justice. The south Florida community is a little safer today.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the FBI, ATF, the MDPD, and FDLE for their efforts in the investigation of this case. Mr. Ferrer also thanked Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office and the Opa Locka Police Department for their assistance and cooperation in this matter. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gilfarb, Maria Medetis and Jason Linder.

An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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