Crime

Surfside Cop Maximo Moreno and Tremont Driver Busted For Towing Bribery Scam

Surfside is one of those three-block hamlets that subsists entirely on the hundred-dollar fines slapped on drivers unlucky enough to crawl through a hair over the limit. Surfside PD doesn't exactly have a lot of CSI-worthy affairs to spend their time on (although they did fine work tracking that masturbator down a few months back.)

Now prosecutors say that one officer, Maximo Moreno, and his brother, a Tremont Towing driver, scammed drivers by demanding bribes in exchange for not towing their rides to an impound lot. Talk about a speed trap.

The State Attorneys Office started watching Moreno about five months ago after receiving complaints about the scam, says Ed Griffith, a department spokesman.

Prosecutors worked with a Miami-Dade PD corruption unit to track the 25-year-old cop, who joined the Surfside police just over three years ago.

They found that Moreno, who worked the night shift, routinely pulled over "high end cars" and then hit them with an arbitrary charge, from driving drunk to "drag racing."

Moreno then offered the drivers two choices: Either spend the night in jail and have your car impounded, or pay his brother -- Allan Moreno, who drove a Tremont truck -- a few hundred bucks to tow you out of Surfside.

The brothers then split the cash, prosecutors say. They were arrested this morning and each face three charges of felony bribery.

It's not the first scandal to besmirch the good name of Surfside's boys in blue this year. Back in February, the department fired a 46-year-old cop named Woodward Brooks for faking accident reports to steal insurance payouts.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink