(WSVN) - They were sworn to uphold the law, but now they are accused of breaking it. 7’s Craig Stevens has our special assignment exclusive — “Dealing on Duty?”
The two women in this video obtained by 7News are working undercover with the Miami-Dade Police Department. Police say they met this man in a parking lot to deliver $600 cash — and marijuana.
Woman in police video: “Look, here, that’s all yours.”
Man: “This is — what do I take him? This? Half of this?”
Woman: “Uh, four ounces.”
Man: “Um, all right.”
But this is no ordinary drug deal.
The man arrested, Marsalis Pendleton, was a sworn Miami-Dade County Corrections Officer at the time, so authorities blurred his face in the video. And police say the pot he took was not destined for the streets, but for a jail.
Police detective: “Throughout the investigation, it was negotiated that, once he took possession of it, he was to deliver it inside the jail. And I believe it’s going to be Metro West, where he did work out of.”
This public corruption detective sometimes works undercover, so we are not showing his face.
He says the four ounces of marijuana has a street value of $600, but it’s worth $8,000 behind bars. It never made it inside.
Police detective: “The signal was given and it was a takedown. It’s what we refer to as a buy-bust.”
Four months later, another parking lot — and another drug sting — but this time with a twist.
Police detective: “He arrived in full uniform that day.”
“He” is Reymundo Hernandez, in the green corrections jacket. According to his arrest report, Hernandez showed up “armed with his duty firearm.”
Police detective: “An exchange of drugs and money was also conducted.”
The interim director of the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department says there is no tolerance for bad officers.
Interim Dir. Dan Junior, Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Dept.: “Our officers are not above the law, and anyone that attempts to introduce contraband into our jail will be arrested and will be prosecuted.”
In addition to drugs and weapons, cellphones are a big concern behind bars. Dan Junior says they have found 14 in just the last 18 months.
Interim Dir. Dan Junior: “The cellphone can also be utilized to engage in illegal activity outside of our walls, and also endanger the life and safety of our staff.”
And it’s a cellphone that brings us back to Hernandez.
In a recorded interview, Hernandez told detectives he actually showed up to pick up payment for delivering a phone to an inmate months earlier.
Detective: “OK, so you did bring him a phone, though, inside?”
Hernandez: “Yeah, yeah, that was…”
Detective: “How’d you get the phone inside?”
Hernandez: “Just brought it in.”
Detective: “I mean, in your pocket?”
Hernandez: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, in my pocket.”
Detective: “Aren’t you guys supposed to get checked when you walk in?”
Hernandez: “Yeah, but they don’t really do it.”
Junior says the department screens both visitors and employees entering jails.
Meanwhile, Pendleton has pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and unlawful compensation. Hernandez pleaded no contest and is now on probation.
Both resigned voluntarily.
Miami-Dade Corrections asks anyone with information on attempts to bring contraband into jails to contact its Security and Internal Affairs Bureau at 786-263-6500.
Department’s statement to 7News:
Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for its employees and inmates. This is evident in our comprehensive contraband detection methods which include ongoing housing/cell searches, cellular telephone detection equipment, and drug interdiction efforts. Additionally, the department collaborates with local law enforcement partners to investigate any allegation of contraband introduction into jail facilities and pursues the arrest and prosecution of any individual attempting to jeopardize the safety of our facilities.
And, if you think there’s something 7News should investigate, give us a call at 305-627-CLUE or 954-921-CLUE. You may also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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