While other cops strived for the big bust or sergeant’s stripes, George Navarro Jr. had other aspirations. The Miami Beach patrolman yearned for the ultimate score, his friends told investigators: to engineer an epic drug deal, one that would make him rich and allow him to leave law enforcement behind.
They called it the “Coke Dream.”
That dream is dead now, as may be Navarro’s police career. He was suspended last September without pay after being charged with racketeering and fraud in connection with a scheme to use phony paperwork to acquire luxury cars.
But that might be just the beginning of Navarro’s troubles. Although for now he hasn’t been charged with anything else, the investigation into his actions has produced reams of damning documents detailing bungled trips to the Bahamas to buy kilos of coke, the rip-off of a suspected marijuana grow house, drunken brawls, a botched attempt to collect a drug debt and — perhaps most strikingly — his penchant for lending his police car, uniforms and other gear to meth-dealer pals.
If nothing else, the investigation of George Navarro Jr. inflicts another black eye on the beleaguered Miami Beach Police Department, battered in recent years by stories of lax discipline and criminal misbehavior.
The mud is being splattered in many directions, onto other officers and other agencies, spawning a slew of investigations.
For instance, the U.S. Coast Guard is probing one of its own for allegedly providing detailed locations of cutters near the Bahamas to help Navarro avoid detection while at sea.
Authorities are also examining the role of Navarro, 27, and his father — once a high-level Miami Beach police commander, now retired — in a secret and illegal recording made by the younger officer’s drug-dealing former roommate as he was being grilled by internal affairs detectives.
Michael Band, attorney for Navarro Jr., said the allegations are nothing more than the “spouting of a Judas.”
That “Judas” would be Marlon Mayoli, a childhood friend of Navarro. Mayoli and another drug dealer, Rafael Guedes, both 27, have been talking quite a bit to state and federal agents, presumably in hopes of trimming some years off their prison sentences.
“What was George’s crime?” asked Band. “He made the mistake of being too loyal of a friend, and exercising poor judgment in friendship.”
Mayoli and Guedes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm while drug trafficking. (The federal probe also led to the indictment of former Boynton Beach Officer David Britto, who has since fled to Brazil.)
Mayoli is serving 15 years in prison, Guedes 14.
Ronald J. Manto, attorney for Mayoli, insisted his client is telling the truth.
“Mayoli accepted responsibility for his participation … He cooperated with the authorities and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. It appears that the investigation is ongoing but much of what Mayoli told police has been corroborated by other sources and evidence. I believe it’s just a matter of time before the other shoe drops.”
The investigation into Navarro Jr. began in March 2011 when the feds raided Guedes’ and Mayoli’s Miami apartment. Inside, they found ecstasy, crystal meth — and, curiously, Navarro’s police uniforms.