Crime

A Group of Cops Who Terrorized Miami's Streets Might Just Get Away With It

Detective Suberto Hernandez, a heavyset undercover cop with a scraggly beard and long greasy hair, pulled to a stop in an unmarked car just south of Calle Ocho on a quiet Little Havana corner across from a vacant grass lot. Wearing clothes that made him look like a grungy construction worker, Hernandez approached Benigno Cardoso, an olive-skinned 55-year-old Cuban with a short buzzcut and shiny gold teeth.

"Gimme $60," Hernandez said in Spanish. Cardoso glanced around, popped the top on an aspirin bottle, and dropped six crack rocks into the narcotics officer's palm. As soon as he got back to his car, Hernandez radioed his comrades nearby: "It's a go. It's a done deal."

Minutes later, cops pulled Cardoso over and hauled him off to jail.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.