Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Sun-Sentinel Investigation: How the Sunrise Police Department makes millions selling drugs

Looks like the Sunrise police department in Broward County has a Bal Harbour PD-style problem.

While the Miami Herald was busy this year covering the Trayvon Martin case and Haiti, it appears Sun-Sentinel reporters were focusing on long-term investigative projects dealing with issues that actually affect the paper's readers.

It's the kind of work that earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize this year.

The Sun-Sentinel's Megan O'Matz and John Maines report in Sunday's paper that the Sunrise police department "is hauling in three times as much forfeited cash as any other city in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Sun Sentinel found. Last year, the city raked in $2 million in state and federal forfeiture funds. The year before, in 2011, the figure was twice that — nearly $4 million."

Cops. Cash. Cocaine. How Sunrise police make millions selling drugs

By Megan O'Matz and John Maines

SUNRISE — Police in this suburban town best known for its sprawling outlet mall have hit upon a surefire way to make millions. They sell cocaine.

Undercover detectives and their army of informants lure big-money drug buyers into the city from across the United States, and from as far north as Canada and as far south as Peru. They negotiate the sale of kilos of cocaine in popular family restaurants, then bust the buyers and seize their cash and cars.

Police confiscate millions from these deals, money that fuels huge overtime payments for the undercover officers who conduct the drug stings and cash rewards for the confidential informants who help detectives entice faraway buyers, a six-month Sun Sentinel investigation found.

Police have paid one femme fatale informant more than $800,000 over the past five years for her success in drawing drug dealers into the city, records obtained by the newspaper show.

Undercover officers tempt these distant buyers with special discounts, even offering cocaine on consignment and the keys to cars with hidden compartments for easy transport. In some deals, they’ve provided rides and directions to these strangers to Sunrise.



Read the complete story by clicking here.

Click here to read how Sun-Sentinel reporters investigated the Sunrise PD's undercover narcotics unit.

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