MIAMI (AP) — Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer, whose office prosecuted thousands of cases during his tenure ranging from terror plots to billion-dollar Ponzi schemes to purveyors of prescription drug “pill mills,” announced Wednesday he will resign after nearly seven years.
Ferrer, 50, said in a news release he will step down as South Florida’s top federal prosecutor effective March 3. Ferrer, whose previous posts included senior adviser to former Attorney General Janet Reno, was nominated for the Miami job by former President Barack Obama in early 2010 and confirmed by the Senate.
“There has been no greater honor than to serve and protect the same community that opened its arms to my parents when they immigrated to this country,” said Ferrer, who is Cuban-American. “I am incredibly proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together, in and out of the courtroom, including building meaningful bonds of trust with the diverse community we serve.”
He did not say why he was resigning but U.S. attorneys often step aside when control of the White House changes political parties.
President Donald Trump will appoint a successor. Ferrer’s top assistant, Ben Greenberg, will run the office in the meantime.
The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida, as it is formally known, is the nation’s third largest with almost 250 assistant prosecutors and 170 support personnel. More than 6 million people live in the district stretching from Fort Pierce south to Key West.
During his tenure, Ferrer’s office prosecuted several high-profile terrorism-related cases, including the conviction of a Muslim imam who funneled money to the Pakistani Taliban and a thwarted plot by two Pakistani-born brothers to detonate explosives at New York City landmarks.
More recently, prosecutors indicted Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, on 22 charges that could bring the death penalty for the Jan. 6 shooting that killed five people and wounded six at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Other notable prosecutions included a crackdown on the South Florida “pill mills” that had been selling oxycodone and other drugs illegally by the tens of thousands and hundreds of health care fraud and identity theft cases.
Ferrer’s office also prosecuted 29 people charged in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme orchestrated by former attorney Scott Rothstein, who is serving a 50-year sentence for a scam involving investments in fake legal settlements. Wronged investors got all their money back.
In addition, the Miami U.S. attorney’s office is part of the prosecution team handling the case in Brooklyn, New York, against Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
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