FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Eduardo Mesa is facing several felony charges — including grand theft and armed trafficking in hydrocodone — after investigators said he stole drugs that belonged to a dead man and lied about it.
Sheriff Scott Israel said the longtime road patrol deputy dishonored himself and the agency.
“Deputy Mesa tarnished the badge and it’s a tough day for a sheriff or anyone in law enforcement,” said Israel.
Back in January , according to Israel, dispatchers sent Mesa to train tracks near Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach. A man, identified in the arrest warrant as William Martin, died after being hit by a train. Israel said detectives became suspicious about Mesa’s actions afterwards.
“They noticed that Deputy Mesa’s report had not been turned in, which is unacceptable,” Israel said.
Then, Israel said, investigators found that evidence from the scene– specifically Martin’s Hydrocodone pills — were never turned in to the evidence room. Months later, deputies searched Mesa’s car and found “…the same Hydrocodone stolen from the scene was still in the defendant’s possession approximately six months later,” according to the arrest affidavit.
BSO said the bottle found in Mesa’s car had Martin’s name on it.
The arrest report says, “(T)he fact that (Mesa) intentionally omitted the Hydrocodone from several other non-narcotic medications that were submitted to the Crime Lab further shows criminal intent.”
Investigators said they found other pills in Mesa’s patrol car hidden in a vitamin bottle. Detectives also said that after Martin died, Mesa told investigators that he threw the man’s belongings in a dumpster.
As for the armed trafficking charge, Sheriff Israel said the amount of drugs Mesa had in his car met a certain threshold and that he was armed when he took the pills.
“When you commit a felony and you’re carrying a firearm, as I’ve said, many, many times, we’re not above the law,” Israel said. “We’re right there with everybody else.”
Israel said detectives are still looking into other cases worked by Deputy Mesa to see if this was an isolated case. He also pointed out that “99.9 percent” of the 4,200 sworn officers at BSO uphold the law everyday.
Mesa is expected to stand before a judge on Thursday morning.
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