Hialeah Gardens Police Officer Guilty: Conspired to Possess,
MAY 14 – (Miami, FL) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announced today that defendant, former Hialeah Gardens Police Department Detective Lawrence Perez was found guilty by a jury of both counts in the indictment: 1) conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana plants and marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and 2) attempting to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 marijuana plants, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.
According to the evidence at trial, Perez, a former Hialeah Gardens Police Department detective during the events described in the indictment, conspired with a group of individuals to steal marijuana from suspects during traffic stops he conducted. The evidence also established that Perez conspired in July 2010 to invade a warehouse containing a marijuana grow operation with 629 plants.
According to the evidence produced at trial, in March 2010, Perez and others conspired to possess approximately 10 pounds of marijuana. On that occasion, they planned to steal the 10 pounds by having Perez conduct a traffic stop and seize the marijuana from an individual who was attempting to sell the marijuana. The marijuana was taken and sold, and the proceeds were divided by the conspirators. Thereafter, in May 2010, a similar traffic stop resulted in 14 pounds of marijuana being stolen by the conspirators.
In July 2010, the conspirators learned of marijuana grow operation in a warehouse. The conspirators conducted meetings and made plans to invade this warehouse and steal the marijuana plants. However, law enforcement had intercepted their telephone communications, learned of this plan, and executed a search warrant prior to the planned invasion. The search resulted in the seizure of 629 marijuana plants and 15 kilograms of packaged marijuana.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 26, 2012 before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. At sentencing, the defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, FBI, and the Miami-Dade Police Department. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Hialeah Gardens Police Department for their assistance in this matter.