Hialeah

New charges added against Hialeah police officer and wife

 

cveiga@MiamiHerald.com

A Hialeah cop who was indicted along with his wife on charges of illegally dealing guns faces new charges: transporting gun parts he knew were stolen from his department.

Rafael and Tammy Valdes, herself a former police officer, now face new federal charges that they filed false tax returns.

“Our clients are looking forward to their day in court,” said Michael Feiler, an attorney for the couple.

Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez said that Rafael Valdes has been relieved of duty with pay and sent home.

Valdes had been reassigned to desk duty after he was indicted in December 2012. Velazquez said that Valdes was also allowed to work because the charges were unrelated to his position with Hialeah.

“Now that has changed,” Velazquez said Monday. “I can tell you that, because of the new indictment on Thursday, he’s been relieved of desk duty.”

Rafael Valdes is still getting paid, though, according to union rules.

The new charge against him, filed Wednesday in West Palm Beach, accuses him of transporting gun parts that he knew were stolen from the Hialeah police. The parts were worth $5,000 or more, according to the indictment, and were transported over six months, from September 2008 through March 2009.

Both husband and wife are also now charged with filing false tax returns for the 2008 through 2011 tax years. According to the indictment, the couple claimed to make far less than their actual income.

The couple was first indicted for dealing firearms without a license. They are accused of selling more than 500 weapons at gun shows across Florida.

Rafael Valdes faces an additional charge of lying in a written statement to a gun dealer.

In an unrelated matter, Tammy Valdes first made headlines when a jury awarded her $158,000 in back pay, plus $75,000 for pain and suffering, in a lawsuit against her former employer, the Golden Beach Police Department.

She claimed she was fired after complaining about a supervisor’s harassment and “double dipping” by police officers who were working off-duty security jobs while on duty for the town.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

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