Three City of Miami police officers are facing federal narcotics charges after a citizen complaint led to an FBI and internal affairs investigation, officials said Tuesday.
Officers Schonton Harris, Kelvin Harris and James Archibald are facing charges including conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said at a news conference Tuesday.
Orshan said the officers participated in a scheme to protect people that they believed were money launderers and drug traffickers in exchange for cash, giving them protection and transportation.
Schonton Harris also used and dealt drugs and was able to rig the drug testing system so she would be able to give a clear sample if she was asked by the department, Orshan said.
Orshan said Schonton Harris also sold a City of Miami Police uniform and badge to an undercover agent for $1,500. The officer believed the uniform would be used by a hitman to kill someone for a drug trafficker, Orshan said.
"These three officers are charged with committing the very crimes that they have a duty to investigate, to report and to help prosecute," Orshan said. "Instead of ridding our streets of drugs which are ravaging our communities, these officers were willing to profit from money laundering and drug trafficking enterprises."
Orshan said the investigation started with a citizen complaint. Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina then contacted the FBI.
"I hope these arrests serve as a warning to any officer who would break their oath, shame our ranks, and dishonor our badge. There is no refuge for you here. If you are corrupt, we will find you, and you will answer for your crimes," Colina said at the news conference.
In exchange for providing police protection, Schonton Harris received $17,000, Kelvin Harris received $10,000, and Archibald received $6,500, Orshan said.
Schonton Harris has been with the department since January of 1999. Kelvin Harris has been with the department since January 1992. Archibald was hired in April 2016.