The Miami Beach police officer arrested and charged Wednesday with racketeering acted as a straw buyer for a white collar crime ring and allowed his roommate a methamphetamine dealer to drive around in his police cruiser, according to court documents released Thursday.
Officer George Robert Navarro, Jr., a six-year veteran of a department trying to move on from a spate of controversies, faces eight felony counts, including racketeering and fraud, and two misdemeanors for his alleged role in what authorities say was a half-a-million-dollar scam.
Navarro, 26, bonded out of jail Thursday, according to his attorney.
Miami Beach Police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say Navarro, whose father was a Miami Beach police commander, was one of six straw buyers who in exchange for the promise of a few grand participated in two schemes on behalf of the crime ring, which was organized by two men.
In one scam, the straw buyers leased vehicles on behalf of the ring leaders, who then illegally sub-leased the cars. In a second ploy, they secured financing with fake titles for cars that had already been moved out of the country.
Navarros attorney, Michael Band, said Thursday that even if the allegations against his client are accurate, Navarro was still just a relatively minor participant in this enterprise.
He wasnt at the center of core of this ring, Band said. But because hes a police officer they threw everything they could against the guy.
While the details laid out in an arrest warrant released Thursday show that Navarro wasnt running the show, they state that he did show up to illicit meetings in an unmarked police car and lived with a drug dealer arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration on charges of trafficking more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
Authorities say they first learned of the auto crime ring around March, 2011, when the DEA arrested Rafael Guedes and Marlon Mayoli and found the meth, a semi-automatic handgun and more than $10,000 in the Mercedes Benz they were driving and in one of the mens homes.
The arrest subsequently led to trafficking charges against Boynton Beach Police Officer David Britto, who fled to Brazil.
The Benz, it turns out, had been acquired through an underground South Florida ring involving a Miami Beach cop, Mayoli told authorities. According to the arrest affidavit, Mayoli said he was acting as an intermediary between Officer Navarro and a confidential informant who had recruited Navarro as a straw buyer.
Mayoli did not receive any direct financial payment, instead Mayoli was residing with Navarro at Navarros home and was allowed to use Navarros marked Miami Beach Police Department car as his form of transportation, states the affidavit, filed by Miami Beach Sgt. Osvaldo Ramos and FDLE agent Claudia Mulvey.
Not true, said Band, who said Mayoli made a copy of Navarros car key and drove the police car around while Navarro was vacationing with his family.
Band said the story about driving Navarros police car is just one of many lies Mayoli told police to help reduce a 15-year sentence levied on him a year ago in his drug trafficking case.
George trusted Marlon and unfortunately his biggest crime was misplaced trust in someone who he took care of, looked after, assisted, loaned money to, and gave him a place to live, he said. And at the end of the day, Marlon the drug dealer invented a whole host of stories about George.