Miami Police Officer Jose Maldonado-Dick made his first court appearance Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly providing protection to drug traffickers and the bond court judge wasted no time blasting the defendant.
“Mr. Maldonado, counsel, all I can say that’s incredibly stupid for Mr. Maldonado to put himself in the position that allegedly he was,” Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat said.
Officer Maldonado, a seven-year veteran who patrolled the Wynwood area, faces two counts each of armed cocaine trafficking, receiving compensation for unlawful behavior, official misconduct by a public servant, and using a communication device unlawfully, according to an arrest affidavit.
“This is perhaps one of the most egregious breaches of trust, of public trust and narcotic trafficking event possible,” prosecutor Warren Eth said.
Maldonado-Dick allegedly used his uniform, gun and badge to protect drug dealers and make sure they were safe to conduct their transactions on the streets.
According to the arrest affidavit, a confidential police informant called Maldonado-Dick to arrange two illegal drug transactions involving large amounts of cocaine. The informant told Maldonado he needed protection during the transactions, according to prosecutors.
Maldonado met with the informant several times and oversaw the two drug transactions conducted by the informant and an undercover officer, according to the affidavit. For one of the transactions, Maldonado-Dick suggested they use the McDonald's parking lot near his patrol area, the affidavit said. The officer allegedly arrived to each meeting in his marked City of Miami Police patrol car. He was dressed in full uniform and armed with his standard issue Glock handgun, the affidavit said.
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa said in a statement that he would be moving “as swiftly as the process allows to terminate the employment of Mr. Maldonado.”
Maldonado’s attorney, Steven Amster, said Maldonado has “faith in his innocence.”
“I do to, and obviously, right now, it’s a bit of a circus and when the dust settles and the evidence gets presented; I think my client will be exonerated,” Amster said.
Maldonado-Dick is being held without bond. If convicted of the armed cocaine trafficking charge, he could spend the rest of his life in jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for next month.