Former Miami-Dade Cop Gets 8 Years Behind Bars in Gambler Robbery

Officer charged in $131,000 robbery accepts plea deal

The former Miami-Dade cop who was charged with robbing a gambler of over $130,000 dollars was sentenced to eight years behind bars Thursday.

John Villar Jr. accepted a plea deal that includes three years probation and a $10,000 fine. He'll serve a minimum of three years behind bars and also have his law enforcement certification revoked.
Under the deal, Villar pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm, strong arm robbery, conspiracy to commit strong arm robbery and burglary of a vehicle charges.

In addition, Villar will have to be a state's witness against his cousin, Fausto Villar, who was also charged in the April 2010 heist.

According to police, the victim, Victor Duarte, had just visited his alleged bookie and had been given $131,000 in cash when he was pulled over on the Palmetto Expressway by Villar and his cousin in an unmarked police car.

Det. Villar, wearing his badge around his neck, his gun holstered at his side, approached Duarte's car, police said. His cousin sported a bullet-proof vest with the word "Police" on the front, as well as a Taser, according to police.

Police said Det. Villar demanded Duarte's license and cell phone and asked if there was anything suspicious in the car. Duarte told Villar about the cash, and Fausto Villar reached in the car and grabbed it, police said.

When Duarte asked him why they were taking the cash, Det. Villar allegedly said it was for evidence.

Duarte became nervous and began shouting for help, and the Villars hopped in their car and left the scene, police said.

Duarte gave chase in his car, eventually finding a Florida Highway Patrol trooper. The trooper caught up to Villar and his cousin, and as the trooper approached the car, Fausto Villar took off running with the bag of cash.

The trooper questioned Det. Villar, who allegedly told him that he'd pulled Duarte over for reckless driving, but decided to let him off with a warning.

Fausto Villar also faces charges of impersonating a police officer and possession of a bulletproof vest while committing a crime.

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