MIAMI (CBSMiami)- A former Hialeah Gardens police officer with a taste for pot and thievery faces up to 40 years in prison after a federal court jury in Miami convicted him of a scheme to steal marijuana, and distribute more than 100 marijuana plants, finding him guilty on both counts of the indictment.
Former officer Lawrence Perez was arrested after the feds claimed he conspired with others to steal marijuana from people he stopped for alleged traffic violations. In one case, investigators said Perez and others working with him knew someone was trying to sell 10 pounds of marijuana, and took it from him during a traffic stop. A second time, they said, Perez did the same thing thing to someone holding 14 pounds of marijuana.
In both case, investigators said, the drug was sold and the money divvied up.
The FBI and the Miami-Dade Police Department, which worked together on the investigation, said Perez also tried to invade a marijuana grow house with hundreds of plants in July of 2010. The plan was scuttled when investigators caught wind of it and got a search warrant, raiding the growhouse and shutting it down before Perez and his crew could invade it.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 26th before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore.