A Hialeah Gardens Police detective who was helping his pals rip off marijuana dealers got 151 months in federal prison yesterday. Miami New Times profiled Lawrence Perez in June after a jury found him guilty of two felony counts of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and attempting to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.
Perez had become the fourth police officer from the Miami-Dade area to get caught by the F.B.I. using their badge to work for dopers. Perez's defense was that he was only pretending to help his drug dealing friends so he could take a big case to the DEA.
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The story tracked how Perez went from being a county bus driver to a wannabe Donnie Brasco. In 2010, The FBI used a confidential informant and wire taps to bust Perez conspiring with his co-defendants to steal 10 pounds of marijuana from a rival drug dealer -- which they did.
He also helped his buddies steal another 14 pounds of marijuana. Both thefts occurred while Perez conducted traffic stop outside of his jurisdiction.
The FBI also caught Perez and his posse on tape discussing a plan to steal 629 marijuana plants from a warehouse guarded by armed growers. But the feds raided the warehouse before the heist took place.