Miami-Dade Cops Brag About Recovering Drugs and $250 From Body of Overdose Victim

Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez (left)
Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez (left) Photo by Miami-Dade Police
Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez (left) - PHOTO BY MIAMI-DADE POLICE
Miami-Dade County Police Director Juan Perez (left)
Photo by Miami-Dade Police
Just after 3 p.m. yesterday, the Miami-Dade Police Department's media bureau sent out a news release trumpeting the success of something called "Operation Bad Batch," a four-month drug sting that began in August. MDPD teamed up with the federal program High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to ostensibly hunt down high-intensity drug traffickers. Despite the fact that the operation took one-third of a year, MDPD seized a hilariously small amount of drugs: 54.3 grams of cocaine, 10 grams of weed, 5 grams of heroin, 3.8 grams of methamphetamine, 3.4 grams of fentanyl, three Xanax pills, four oxycodone pills, two guns, and $358 in cash.

Those are not high-intensity drug-trafficking types of numbers. And they seem a lot less impressive when you take into account that 1.7 grams of fentanyl, a half-gram of cocaine, and $251 of the aforementioned $358 were recovered because police responded to a home where someone had overdosed and died.

According to a police report, one of the so-called drug busts occurred in Coral Gables after someone had fatally OD'ed. After an unknown person alerted Coral Gables cops that someone had died at a home on Ponce de Leon Boulevard, officers pronounced the man dead and then called the Miami-Dade homicide bureau. MDPD agents arrived and declared the death a possible overdose. The man, listed as an "unknown Hispanic male," had no ID and has not been named.

But cops apparently found drugs inside the home. The officers say they began searching the home and saw a phone outlet plate hanging open on a wall, inside which they discovered 1.7 grams of fentanyl and 0.5 grams of cocaine. The cops say they also found syringes and $251 laid out on a bed "in multiple denominations, which is consistent with street-level narcotics sales."

Despite the fact that police did not say they witnessed anyone selling or using drugs, they arrested a man who lives in the home and charged him with two felonies: possession with intent to sell cocaine and possession with intent to sell fentanyl.

MDPD yesterday then somehow bragged that the aforementioned "arrest" and "bust" came as part of Operation Bad Batch. The home's resident was one of nine people nabbed as part of the so-called sting. Other people arrested included a man carrying 1.7 grams of fentanyl who was pulled over for driving erratically, and five people arrested for active warrants. Only one man was arrested as part of an undercover narcotics purchase, and another was caught because of a search warrant.

In an email, New Times asked MDPD why recovering drugs from an overdose death counted as part of the operation. The bureau said it could not explain anything further about the unidentified man's death.

"We are not at liberty to divulge information on an open death investigation," police told New Times. "As far as Mr. Campbell, he was charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and also possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Operation Bad Batch is composed of long term investigations and was initiated to combat the sale of narcotics, which have been identified as causing near death overdoses and overdoses resulting in death throughout Miami-Dade County. Fentanyl was identified as one of those drugs. Fentanyl has also been discovered 'cut' or 'laced' with cocaine and vice versa. Mr. Campbell’s charges fell within the guidelines mentioned above, set for Operation Bad Batch.”
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.