(As originally published, Mon, November 20th 2023, 8:37 PM EST)
MIAMI (TND) — A police officer in Miami is facing some serious criminal charges after a sting operation involving someone “he believed to be involved in drug trafficking,” according to federal prosecutors.
They said Frenel Cenat used his “unmarked vehicle and police position to conduct a traffic stop on a driver” he thought had “a large amount of drug proceeds.”
On Friday night, Nov. 3, he used “his lights and siren to pull over the vehicle driven by an undercover agent posing as a drug trafficker who had a backpack containing what were represented to be drug proceeds.”
That driver stopped and according to the complaint,
“Cenat identified himself as ‘Officer Martez’ of the ‘Miami PD – Dade County Narcotics Unit,’ told the driver that he had been investigating him, and then gave the driver the option of giving Cenat the backpack filled with $52,000 in $100 bills or going to jail.
“Cenat then took the bag of money, let the driver leave, and met up with the individual who told him about the deal, giving him $13,000 and keeping the other $39,000.”
Then, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Cenat did it again, asking that other person “if he had anyone who they could stop and steal drugs and money from.
“This led to Cenat once again using his MPD unmarked vehicle and police lights to stop a different undercover agent who he had been told would be transporting both money and 7 ‘bricks,’ a street term for kilograms of cocaine.”
That traffic stop took place late Thursday, Nov. 16, and the feds said “Cenat introduced himself as ‘Officer Martez of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office – Narcotics Unit.’
“Once again, Cenat pretended to have been investigating the driver and gave him the choice of giving up the drugs and money or going to federal prison. Cenat then took the duffle bag containing $80,000 in $100 bills and 7 kilograms of fake cocaine and allowed the driver to leave.
“When Cenat arrived at the location arranged for the split of the proceeds, he was arrested, and the 7 kilogram-shaped packages and a large quantity of $100 bills were found in his official MPD vehicle.”
Cenat, 40, is charged with Hobbs Act extortion and attempted extortion under color of official right, theft of government funds, and attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine.