DEERFIELD BEACH (CBSMiami) – A 10-year veteran Broward Sheriff’s deputy was arrested and suspended with pay after an undercover sting allegedly caught him stealing money from what he thought was a drug dealer who was really an undercover cop.
Deputy Brent Wooddell, a member of BSO since 2001, was charged with official misconduct and grand theft after an undercover operation Thursday involving BSO and the Miami-Dade Police department.
“It is very, very disturbing when any law enforcement officer crosses the line and has to be arrested,” said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti. “It’s particularly disturbing when it’s one of your own.”
According to the arrest affidavit, Deputy Wooddell met Thursday in Deerfield Beach with an alleged drug dealer who was arrested for drug trafficking after Wooddell found 1,000 Oxycodone pills in a bag the so-called dealer was carrying.
The drugs were fake, BSO said, but the $7340 in cash which was also in the bag was real, marked money used as part of the sting.
After the arrest, and while other officers caught the deputy on video, he was seen taking the bag out of the undercover car, placing it on the trunk, and opening it. He was seen putting the bag back into his car, and driving away while deputies tailed him.
What he didn’t know was that the supposed drug dealer was really an undercover Miami-Dade cop working in conjunction with BSO after a co-worker got suspicious.
“One of our detectives came forward and said he had suspicions that Det. Brent Woodeell was taking money on drug cases,” Lamberti said. “He reported it to his seargent, which is good, because it shows that our own people aren’t going to tolerate this behavior.”
According to the arrest affidavit, Wooddell made a detour while on his way to the BSO Deerfield Beach office, driving through the Deer Creek neighborhood.
According to investigators, when Wooddell arrived at the BSO office and started processing the drugs and money, the blue bag was nowhere to be seen, and instead of the $7340 in marked money taken from the drug dealer, Wooddell counted out only $6 thousand.
He turned in the lesser amount, the affidavit claims, and signed a a receipt. He was arrested at the end of his shift.
Detective Woodell was a decorated officer, once named “BSO Star of the Month” in 2006. Ironically, the award was for his investigative skills and hard work in drug busts in Deerfield Beach.
Lamberti had a simple message for his workforce after the arrest.
“We are not going to have people like that working for the Broward Sheriff’s Office,” Lamberti said. “Pride in service with integrity,’ it’s our motto; it’s our creedo that I put in place in 2007. That’s the rule of the day. If you don’t have your integrity; you don’t have anything.”