Former City of Miami Police Officer Sentenced to 15 ½ Years After She Pled Guilty to Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine with Intent to Distribute
U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced former City of Miami Police officer, Schonton Harris, of Miami, to 15 ½ years in prison for her involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Former officer Schonton Harris previously pled guilty to conspiring with other officers to possess cocaine from August through October 2018. According to court filings, on September 13, 2018, during an undercover operation, Schonton Harris, who was in full uniform and carrying her service firearm, provided police protection for what she believed was a multiple-kilogram shipment of cocaine by escorting the transportation of such cocaine from a bus station to a Miami-area hotel. Later, on September 28, 2018, Schonton Harris provided police protection for a 40-kilogram shipment of what she again believed to be cocaine. The sham cocaine, divided into two 20-kilogram containers, was transported by undercover FBI employees in two separate vehicles to two different Miami-area hotels. Finally, on October 11, 2018, Schonton Harris personally took possession of two large coolers from a Miami-area marina, which coolers she believed to each contain 15 kilograms of cocaine, and transported such coolers to two hotels in Miami. After the described incidents, Schonton Harris received a cash payment in the amount of $17,000.
“The sentence announced today is a victory for all law enforcement officers who protect and serve our community with pride, honor, and dignity,” said U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan. “We will not allow those who abuse their positions of trust to tarnish the reputation of the City of Miami Police Department and those dedicated officers who, every day, serve the City of Miami residents. Those who use their badge to break the law and enrich themselves will be brought to justice.”
"Individuals who use the badge for their own personal gain have no place in law enforcement, " said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. "We commend the City of Miami Police Department for their close cooperation and commitment throughout this investigation."
This case was investigated by the FBI, including the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry C. Wallace, Jr. and Jessica Obenauf.