MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Court documents are revealing new details about the undercover drug sting that nabbed two South Florida police officers and three others.
A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration criminal complaint says Miami-Dade Police Officer Roderick Flowers, his cousin Keith Edwards, who is also a law enforcement officer, and Miami-area attorney Manny Hernandez, are all charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, except the cocaine was fake. In addition, Hernandez along with two of his associates, Durojaiye Obafemi Monsuru Lawal and Trevanti McLeod, are charged with Money Laundering and Considering to Launder Money.
The charges stem from a six-month undercover sting operation that started in May of 2020 when a DEA confidential source (CS) posed as a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, often described as the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization in the Western Hemisphere.
The CS posed as a cocaine trafficker and money launderer for the Mexican cartel while meeting with Hernandez, who admitted he uses his company bank accounts for his money laundering activities, states the 18-page criminal complaint.
The complaint states, in detail, how the CS and Hernandez agreed on drug money laundering deals and eventually to drug trafficking.
Flowers, who is the son of Bal Harbour Police Chief Raleigh Flowers, was first brought up in conversation on August 20 when Hernandez told the source he had law enforcement contacts and “bragged about his ability to use law enforcement for his needs,” states the complaint.
The source asked Hernandez if his law enforcement contact could run a license plate which belonged to someone who owed him money. He said yes and ten minutes later, forwarded a screenshot of the information.
“A review of law enforcement records showed that Miami-Dade Police Officer Roderick Flowers had run the plate information,” states the complaint.
The complaint goes on to say Hernandez wanted to introduce two cops to the source.
“When asked if it was the same cop who ran the tag for the source, Hernandez confirmed it was.”
Hernandez explained “he wanted the confidential source to have the cops in his/her pocket.” He also said “Both cops were on his payroll and he could have the cops ready for anything, as both wanted to make money.”
Hernandez explained they were cousins; one worked for MDPD and the other for West Palm Beach, according to the DEA.
On Sept. 9, the confidential source and an undercover officer were introduced to Flowers.
When asked if he was a cop, Flowers replied, “Yea, I don’t look like one right?”, according to the court documents.
The complaint states they discussed how Flowers could help transport a load of cocaine and their code word for the cocaine was “White Girls.”
Flowers explained how he could “orchestrate the escort” and also said that “he and his friend would create a scenario or alibi as to why they were in the area in case something went bad.”
Flowers was also given $5,000 as an upfront payment, according to the court documents.
On Sept. 14, the confidential source and undercover cop were introduced to the second officer, Keith Edwards, in Hernandez’s office.
When asked if he was willing to help transport the product, Edwards replied by saying “his job was more about personal security, and whatever the source did on the backend was on him/her.”
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The source explained the transport was going to take place in two days, on Sept. 16.
The cocaine was going to be moved from Homestead to Aventura. Again, Edwards said the product had nothing to do with him, that he protects people, stated the documents. He said he doesn’t deal or touch that type of stuff because he’s a “cop’s cop.” Edwards clarified that he and Flowers were not hitmen and if the deal went bad, he would protect the informant and not the product, especially since the informant was doing something illegal, state the documents.
On the day of the transport, Sept. 16, they all met in a Homestead parking lot. Flowers in one vehicle, Edwards in another and the source in a third. They all headed to a hotel to pick up the drugs, outlines the complaint. An undercover officer at the hotel had a suitcase full of 10 kilos of sham cocaine. The source took possession of the suitcase. All three then drove to a hotel in Aventura where it was delivered to another undercover officer.
As they were leaving, the source stated to both Flowers and Edwards, “Welcome to the Sinaloa Cartel”. They both laughed, and left the hotel.
Flowers, who has been with the department for less than five years was picked up by DEA agents Thursday morning.
All of the meetings with the confidential source and undercover officer were secretly audio and video recorded, states the DEA.
Meantime, Flowers and Edwards can be seen on social media dressed up around last Halloween as the characters from the movie franchise “Bad Boys,” which were filmed in Miami.
Flowers even uses the name ‘Mike Lowrey’ on his Instagram page, the character played by actor Will Smith.
Flowers appeared in court Friday and was released on bond. His attorney, David Weinstein, said Sunday he could not comment because he has not reviewed the evidence.
Edwards tested positive for coronavirus and is being held in isolation pending a court hearing