MIAMI (WSVN) - Three City of Miami police officers have been arrested on federal drug charges, the FBI has announced.
The officers are scheduled to appear before a federal court judge, early Wednesday afternoon.
U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan identified the officers taken into custody Tuesday morning as Schonton Harris, who has been with the department for nearly 20 years, Kelvin Harris, a veteran with over 26 years with the department, and James Archibald, who has been a City of Miami officer for two and a half years.
“These three officers are charged with committing the very crimes they have a duty to investigate, to report and to help prosecute,” Orshan said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “Instead of ridding our streets of drugs, which are ravaging our communities, these officers were willing to profit from money laundering and drug trafficking enterprises. They were willing to work as armed escorts for drug traffickers.”
Authorities said the officers received thousands of dollars in exchange for providing protection and transportation for traffickers. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Schonton Harris received $17,000, Kelvin Harris received $10,000 and James Archibald received $6,500.
Orshan said the investigation also revealed that Schonton Harris used and dealt narcotics while she was a police officer, and even sold a Miami Police uniform and badge for $1,500 with the knowledge that it would be used by a hitman to kill someone who “violated a drug trafficker’s trust.” That buyer ended up being an undercover agent.
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said a citizen reported the illegal activity to the department, which then turned the information over to the FBI.
“Our agency is repulsed by the actions of these three individuals being arrested today,” Colina said. “I hope these arrests serve as a warning to any officer who would break their oath, shame our ranks and dishonor our badge. There is no refuge for you here. If you are corrupt, we will find you, and you will answer for your crimes.”
According to the FBI, at some point Schonton insisted, even though she’s an officer, there should be no worry about her involvement.
“With me, I don’t give a [expletive]. You can tell me, I still won’t care. I don’t care if it’s a dead body cut up in pieces,” Schonton allegedly said in an FBI recording.
7News was at the FBI field office in Miramar as Schonton was hauled away.
According to a criminal complaint, she was the person heading up the illegal operation. She’s also accused of recruiting the other two officers.
According to authorities, the officers face multiple charges, including conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute as well as using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
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