OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – CBS4 has learned that federal agents have taken as many as six people, including an Opa-Locka Police officer into custody for their alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
Opa-Locka Police confirmed to CBS4 that Opa-Locka Police Captain Arthur Balom was arrested Thursday morning at his home and that FBI agents searched his locker and patrol car.
“Today, as you know, is a sad day for the city of Opa-Locka,” said city manager Bryan Finnie. “One of our officers was arrested and indicted on conspiracy charges. The investigation was conducted by the FBI. We are shocked and very concerned about the outcome.”
The Department of Justice said the people arrested were: Toriano Johnson, 36; Terrence Johnson, 38; Dwayne Miller, 27; Jermaine Parrish, 29; Antwan Davis, 29; Lawrence Benbow, 35; Justin Jean, 27; and Balom.
According to the search warrant, agents were also looking for evidence of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.” They were looking also looking for evidence related to the crime of “interference with interstate commerce by robbery.”
The Justice Department said the group participated in the distribution of cocaine, Ecstasy, and oxycodone in Opa-Locka.
“Today’s arrests and indictment have disrupted and struck a serious blow to a violent, multi-kilo drug trafficking organization based out of Opa Locka,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge in Miami, John Gillies.
Sources told CBS4 that Thursday’s those arrested were believed to part of the same criminal organization responsible for the murder of a Brinks guard during a robbery attempt.
However, none of those arrested Thursday were charged for the Brinks truck robbery and murder.
CBS4’s Jim DeFede was told by sources that the FBI recovered a bullet proof vest at the Brinks robbery which had been worn by one of the robbers. The serial number on the vest was traced back to the Opa-Locka police department.
The search warrant served on the Opa Locka police department also included any records as to who the vest was assigned to and if it was ever returned to the department. The warrant specifically asks for all records relating to the vest being in the “custody and control of Arthur Balom.”
Sources said Balom provided the robbers with assistance both in his capacity as a police officer and as a member of the criminal organization.
Balom has been with the Opa Locke police department since 1998.
“We will not tolerate any misconduct,” said Opa-Locka Police Chief Cheryl Cason. “We will hold our officers to a higher standard. And like I said, we serve this community with great pride and integrity.”
Two people also named in the drug trafficking indictment are still being sought by authorities.
If convicted, the suspects arrested Thursday face up to 40 years in prison.