SWEETWATER (CBSMiami) – Scandal at the Sweetwater Police Department as an officer and former officer are accused of preying on the most vulnerable people in town.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), in coordination with the Miami-Dade Police Department, arrested Reny Garcia and William Garcia.
Reny Garcia is a sergeant with the Sweetwater Police Department. William Garcia used to be a detective with the department.
According to police, the two men are not related.
William Garcia is currently in prison in Virginia on unrelated charges.
Both men have been charged with organized scheme to defraud and racketeering.
Officials with FDLE confirm the arrests are part of a larger investigation based on decades of corruption, but no criminal wrongdoing of the current Sweetwater Police Department administration is under investigation.
According to investigators, members of the department engaged in racketeering activity that included battery, theft, fraud, burglary, and other violent crimes against civilians.
Those involved often specifically targeted foreign-born victims with limited knowledge of the English language and the U.S. legal system, in order to exploit the victims and conceal the officers’ unlawful activities from outside authorities.
“They took my car from my house and that had nothing to do with what they were there for,” said Lazaro Dalmauc in Spanish. “They took a lot of money I had inside my house and jewelry.”
Dalmauc says four years ago Sweetwater officers towed his Porsche using Southland the Towing Company.
Southland was later investigated by the FBI amid allegations that it had taken possession of vehicles unlawfully seized by police.
“I’m glad they’re going to jail. But my car is still missing,” said Dalmauc. “I have no idea how a car can go missing in this country.”
According to court documents obtained by CBS4 News, so far these are the others who have been mentioned in this investigation: Sweetwater Police Officer Octavio Oliver, William Garcia, Richard Brenner, former City Commissioner Catalina Rodriguez and Reny Garcia.
Reny Garcia is being held without bond and William Garcia will be transported to Miami to face the new charges.