A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested Saturday night, accused of buying drugs from an informant — on duty, in uniform and in his police cruiser.
Deputy Jaime Miranda, faces three felony charges — conspiracy to purchase narcotics, possession of synthetic narcotics and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription — and one misdemeanor charge for possessing drug equipment.
Miranda was booked into Key West jail Saturday night and released on $12,000 bond Sunday morning. He is suspended without pay while detectives continue their investigation.
The department said Miranda, 30, was on duty around 6:30 p.m. when he bought 10 fake Oxycodone pills from the informant in the Winn-Dixie Supermarket parking lot on Big Pine Key, said Deputy Becky Herrin, an agency spokeswoman.
Miranda was stopped shortly after the transaction. A detective found nine of the fake pills and one quarter pill in the glove compartment of Miranda’s patrol car. There were also 12 hydromorphone pills in the car, and Miranda had a pipe in his pants pocket that contained marijuana residue, Herrin said.
Miranda told investigators he took part of one of the fake pills right after buying them from the informant. He stole the hydromorphone pills from his aunt’s house, Herrin said.
A federal agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security assisted in the sting operation, Herrin said.
Miranda joined the sheriff’s office in 2008 and is assigned to the Lower Keys district.
Sheriff Rick Ramsay, in a statement released Sunday, praised his detectives’ objectivity during the investigation.
“I am proud of the detectives who investigated this case. They did the right thing under difficult circumstances,” Ramsay said. “The integrity, honesty and professionalism of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is crucial to our ability to perform the job of law enforcement. I will not tolerate any behavior that compromises these values.”