Two South Florida Police Officers Charged with Federal Drug Trafficking Crime
Miami, Fl. – A recently unsealed criminal complaint charges Miami-Dade County Police Officers Roderick Michael Flowers, 30, and Keith Maurice Edwards Jr., 28, with conspiring to traffic cocaine. It also charges Manuel Carlos Hernandez, 23, in the cocaine trafficking conspiracy, and Hernandez, Durojaiye Obafemi Monsuru Lawal, 24, and Trevanti McLeod, 23, all from South Florida, with money laundering crimes.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Keith Weis, Special Agent in Charge for DEA Miami, made the announcement.
According to allegations in the criminal complaint affidavit, on September 16, 2020, Officers Flowers and Edwards provided protection for the transport of what they believed to be 10 kilograms of cocaine connected to a Mexican drug cartel from its pick-up point in Homestead, Florida to its drop-off point in Aventura, Florida. Officers Flowers and Edwards, each in his own car, escorted a third vehicle containing the purported cocaine: Flowers drove immediately in front of the loaded vehicle and Edwards drove immediately behind it on the Palmetto, 836, and I-95 highways. The affidavit alleges that the officers also escorted the purported cocaine and its handlers on foot, as they went into and out of buildings to pick up and drop off the load. In exchange for the protection service, Flowers and Edwards each made $5,000 in cash, according to the complaint. Unknown to Flowers and Edwards at the time, the cocaine was fake and the Mexican cartel dealers were actually law enforcement confidential sources and undercover agents.
In addition, the complaint affidavit describes Hernandez’s alleged money laundering operation, including transactions during which Hernandez and his associates, Lawal and McLeod, laundered $200,000 in purported drug proceeds. According to the complaint, prior to the protection job on September 16, Officer Flowers had been on Hernandez’s payroll and had improperly used his position as an officer to obtain information for Hernandez. The affidavit accuses Hernandez of investing in the load that Flowers and Edwards protected on September 16, believing that it was real cocaine connected to a Mexican cartel.
All defendants have made their initial appearances in federal magistrate judge court in Miami.
DEA Miami investigated this case, with assistance from FBI Miami, DEA Detroit, and Miami Dade Police Department, Internal Affairs. Assistant United States Attorneys Frederic “Fritz” Shadley and Eduardo Sanchez are prosecuting this case.
A criminal complaint is a charging instrument that contains allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
You may find related court documents and information on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 20-mj-3922.