Federal prosecutors said Friday they charged a Miami police officer with using his position in law enforcement to shake down drug dealers for cash and narcotics in exchange for keeping them out of jail.
The U.S. Attorneyâs Office in the Southern District of Florida accused Frenal Cenat, 40, of federal extortion charges, theft of government funds and attempting to possess and distribute cocaine after federal agents arrested him Thursday during a sting operation.
The FBI informant told Officer Cenat that he should target a drug trafficker Thursday evening in Deerfield Beach, where an undercover FBI agent posed as the trafficker.
The criminal complaint said Officer Cenat used his unmarked Miami police vehicle to pull over the undercover agent.
Officer Cenat introduced himself as âOfficer Martez of the Broward County Sheriffâs Office â Narcotics Unit,â prosecutors said, and told the undercover agent he could hand over their cash and cocaine or be taken to federal prison.
The undercover agent gave Officer Cenat a duffel bag with $80,000 and seven kilograms of fake cocaine inside. Prosecutors said the Miami police officer was taken into custody by federal agents after he drove to a Walmart parking lot in Coral Springs to pay the FBI informant his share.
âThe arrest of Officer Cenat is the result of a joint operation focused on identifying corrupt cops, and itâs an example of the repercussions when one of our own betrays their oath of office and tarnishes their badge,â police Chief Manuel Morales said in a statement. âI stand firmly committed to transparency and ensuring the communityâs trust is upheld throughout this investigation.â
Court documents said the informant tipped off Officer Cenat earlier this month about another drug trafficker who could be shaken down â again, an undercover FBI agent.
• Matt Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.
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