Luis Valdes says he loved being part of Miami Police Department’s elite crime suppression unit, or CSU, until he and some of his colleagues saw something that made them send an anonymous letter to the department’s internal affairs.
“It basically said that our sergeant, his first day on the job…he asked myself and a 24-year veteran of the department to plant dope on someone,” Valdes said, referring to the letter.
That supervisor was Raul Iglesias, a sergeant who, with the help of Valdes and his colleagues, was investigated by the FBI and found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and lying about money recovered during a police operation, among other charges.
After the trial, Valdes says Iglesias’ attorney sent a complaint to then Internal Affairs Major and current Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina - accusing Valdes and the other officers who testified against his client of committing perjury in another case.
The NBC 6 Investigators get results
When asked about the letter from Iglesias’ attorney, Valdes says the letter was sent “to discredit us, to make us look like we were lying, to help his appeal.”
The complaint from Iglesias’ attorney started an internal affairs investigation into Valdes and the other officers.
Valdes says that during that time, one of Colina’s investigators asked him for a meeting at a strip mall parking lot. He says he recorded the conversation because he was worried about the unusual meeting.
Valdes provided a copy of the recording to NBC 6 Investigators. In it, a man can be heard saying, “you were dealt a bad hand and it started the second you got into the unit and you happen to see something done wrong by a supervisor.”
Valdes says the investigator tried to convince him to admit to lying and accept a reprimand.
“Think about it, the Major told me, ‘Oh, give him til, til tomorrow,'” the man said in the audio.
When asked why he didn’t sign the reprimand, Valdes told NBC 6, “because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
In a lawsuit filed against the city of Miami, there’s testimony from one of the officers involved in Valdes’ investigation saying they were called into internal affairs.
“Major Jorge Colina ordered us all to ‘change (our) f--ing stories or be f--ing fired,’ and we were threatened with ‘consequences’ should we not agree to the Internal Affairs version of the facts.”
They didn’t change their version and Valdes and another officer were fired.
“What was done to me was not right. I didn’t (do) nothing wrong and I lost my career,” Valdes told NBC 6.
The other officer who was fired got his job back after arbitration, but Valdes says the police union refused to give him a defense attorney and when they finally did, nobody testified in his favor and he lost his arbitration.
Valdes wants to clear his name and get his job back. He currently works as a security guard for a company that patrols our sister network Telemundo in Doral.