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Attorney DeFabio Quoted in Sun Sentinel Article on Cocaine-Selling Cops

Cops selling cocaine—that was the topic of an investigative article that was recently published in the Sun Sentinel. The article took an in-depth look into the cocaine trafficking sting operations that are being carried out by undercover detectives in Sunrise, Florida. According to the article, these operations bring in suspected drug dealers from other parts of the state and country, and even from abroad. The drug busts serve as significant money generators for the Sunrise Police Department. Attorney Joel DeFabio, one of our Miami criminal defense lawyers from DeFabio, Beckham, Solis, P.A., provided commentary in the news story about this practice.

The Sun Sentinel article referred to the process used by the Sunrise detectives as "reverse stings," since the detectives are posing as cocaine suppliers rather than cocaine buyers. Here's how the process works—the detectives work with confidential informants in order to identify cocaine dealers from out of town and to set up the meetings with the undercover detectives. The deals and busts then tend to take place in everyday public locations, such as in shopping malls or at restaurants such as TGI Fridays, McDonald's and Panera Bread. Once the busts are made, the police are then able to keep property related to the crime—such as the cash and vehicles used in the deals—due to forfeiture laws. The money from these forfeitures is then used to pay for overtime and resources (such as guns) for the Sunrise Police Department, and it is also used to pay informants.

The Sun Sentinel found that Sunrise was able to bring in almost $4 million in federal and state forfeiture funds and $2 million in 2012. In comparison to other cities in Broward and Palm Beach counties, Sunrise brings in three times more money in these types of funds.

According to Attorney DeFabio, who was quoted in the article, this practice is not illegal or improper under current laws. The article did, however, note that the process of constantly luring in drug traffickers from outside jurisdictions is "unusual." According to the Sun Sentinel's investigation, the suspects were from other states or countries in three-fourths of the Sunrise sting operations.

Attorney DeFabio has more than 30 years of experience handling criminal defense cases in Miami, Florida. Throughout his career, he has reached more than 50 "Not Guilty" verdicts. Mr. DeFabio has received various professional honors, including being given the Rodney Thaxton "Against All Odds" award in 2007 by the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL), and being recognized as one of the "Most Effective Lawyers" in Miami in the area of Criminal Justice in 2008 by the Daily Business Review. To learn more about Attorney DeFabio and the legal services we provide at DeFabio, Beckham, Solis, P.A., contact our firm! We handle cases related to drug crimes and many other types of criminal offenses.