Friday, January 08, 2016

How to Make Money in Police Work

Busy times, so before I go to Law and Order: Part Two here is a story of a police force dedicated to income generation or, if you prefer, police as a criminal enterprise.
The police force of Bal Harbour, Florida was expected to pay its own way with little taxpayer support. Speeding tickets weren't going to cover the budget so, along with the Glades County Sheriff's Office they set up an operation to tap into the free-wheeling drug money circulating in nearby Miami.

The police set up a money laundering operation to service the South Florida drug industry. Whether there was, initially, some noble law enforcement intent is debatable. Whatever, the officers quickly realized the money was big and sweet and the only way to fuck things up was to actually arrest anybody.

In two years, they cleaned up over $55 million in illegal cash for the cartels. The police departments officially pocketed $2.4 million in profits. The individual officers seem to have skimmed another $1.3 million dollars for their personal use. Other reports say up to $12 million is missing. During that time absolutely no arrests were made and many of the businesses the police laundered for are still in operation.

The Feds slapped Bal Harbour for using the laundered money to pay police salaries but ignored the greater operation until the Miami-Herald last year blew the cover off the whole sorted mess. With the enterprise known publicly, the Feds must now at least appear to be investigating. Some people have and will be fired but I suspect no one will be indicted.

Bless your naive little heart if you believe this is one, isolated, rogue police department. Until the affair became public, the Department of Justice's only concern about the illegal activities was some sloppy bookkeeping. This type of operation is so pervasive the DOJ is mostly interested in getting their cut. Stopping it would be a career killer for any FBI agent who tries.

1 comment:

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