A Miami Police sergeant accused of planting cocaine on a suspect and stealing drugs and money from suspected dealers was indicted on several charges, federal authorities announced.
Raul Iglesias, 40, faces nine counts, including conspiracy to commit a violation of civil rights, civil rights violations, conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, obstruction of justice and making false official statements, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Iglesias made his first appearance in federal court on Friday. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the nine counts. He also posted $50,000 bond.
His attorney, Richard Diaz, says his client, an 18-year Miami Police veteran, has no prior criminal record.
Diaz said Iglesias is in good spirits, and confident he will prove his innocence at trial.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Miami Police spokesman Maj. Delrish Moss said the department takes the allegations seriously.
"At the same time, we recognize that these are only accusations currently, and that all are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," he said in a statement.
According to the indictment, Iglesias, a supervisor of a City of Miami Police Department anti-narcotics unit, had been involved in the illegal activity dating back to 2010.
The indictment claims Iglesias ordered two other officers to arrest a suspect, identified only as "R.H.," even though he had already been searched and no drugs were found.
"Do you have any throw-down dope?" Iglesias asked the other officers, according to the indictment. Another officer, identified as "R.M.," arrived at the scene and gave Iglesias a bag of cocaine, the indictment said.
Iglesias then told a detective that the cocaine had been seized from "R.H.," the indictment said.
The indictment was the result of a joint investigation by Miami Police's Internal Affairs Unit and the FBI's Public Corruption Squad.
Iglesias had been relieved of duty with pay in May 2010. He faces up to 20 years behind bars if convicted. It's unknown whether he has an attorney.
"The Miami Fraternal Order of Police is concerned that why has an alleged incident that happened in May/2010 has taken two years to formerly charge Raul Iglesias," FOP vice president Javier Ortiz said in a statement. "What we can tell you is that Sergeant Iglesias has been an outstanding Police Officer with the Miami Police Department. He is a decorated Iraq war veteran as a U.S. Marine and was honorably discharged with an impeccable military record. Since Sergeant Iglesias was relieved of duty two years ago, he has maintained his innocence throughout the entire investigation. He intends to face his accusers in court."