Jury Convicts Titusville Police Officer for Federal Drug Crimes
Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Richard Irizarry (45, Viera) guilty of attempting to help distribute one kilogram of cocaine, and using a cellular telephone to commit a drug trafficking offense. He faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 31, 2015.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Irizarry joined the Titusville Police Department in 2010 as a sworn law enforcement officer. In the summer of 2013, he responded to an apartment complex and befriended a person, who, unbeknownst to Irizarry, was a DEA confidential informant. While at a New Year’s Eve party in 2013, Irizarry told the informant that he knew that he was a drug dealer, and that Irizarry wanted to get into the drug business with him to make money. On New Year’s Day, the informant reported the conversation to DEA, which immediately initiated an investigation.
On several occasions, Irizarry met with or called the informant, who recorded all of their meetings and telephone conversations. Irizarry often used his official police vehicle to meet the informant after his shift was over. On January 13, 2014, Irizarry looked up a license plate in a confidential database for the informant and identified it as belonging to an undercover DEA car. On another occasion, while on duty and in uniform, Irizarry parked his patrol car 50 feet away from the informant and an undercover agent that Irizarry believed was also a drug dealer. After listening to his police radio, Irizarry used his cellphone to tell the informant that it was safe to do a deal. Following that call, the informant handed the undercover agent what Irizarry believed was a kilogram of cocaine. For protecting the drug deal, the informant paid Irizarry $500.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vincent A. Citro.