A high-ranking Hialeah official inserted a glass pipe in his rectum shortly before he was arrested on drug charges in December in Fort Lauderdale, according to police records.
Carlos López, 45, who at the time was the city’s purchasing director, was arrested on Dec. 29 for using methamphetamine while driving through downtown Fort Lauderdale.
“López appeared visually shaken and sweating. López’s face was flushed from an apparent rise in body temperature and pupils were dilated,” said the arrest report, signed by an office identified as R. Goderstad. “As López searched for his license I observed involuntary muscle spasms in López’s face as well as slurred repetitive speech. These symptoms are consistent with being under the influence of methamphetamine.”
López declined to comment on the case Monday. The arrest report says he was taken to a hospital to have the pipe removed.
The arrest in Fort Lauderdale is not López’s first incident since he began working for the city of Hialeah in April 1997. In October 2005 he was suspended for nearly a month, also for drug use. At that time he agreed to enter a drug program, according to his record at the city’s Department of Human Resources.
In November 1997, according to that same record, López was suspended for 30 days, but no reason was given. A year later he was suspended for two days.
Mayor Carlos Hernández did not respond to a request for an interview with el Nuevo Herald to explain whether he knew López’s record before promoting him in September 2011 to director of the Purchasing Department.
Arnie Alonso, Hernández’s chief of staff, said Monday that the city of Hialeah had taken “appropriate management measures” in López’s case and that they were awaiting court procedures in the Fort Lauderdale case.
The Fort Lauderdale arrest report says Officer Goderstad saw López’s 2008 Hyundai driving slowly on Northwest Fourth Avenue when several men approached the vehicle. The men ran away when they saw the patrol car. López then accelerated to 50 mph in a residential zone where the speed limit is 25. Goderstad stopped him.
Goderstad’s report said he suspected López was under the influence of drugs and called a canine unit. A unit officer found a small metal container with methamphetamine.
During the inspection, Goderstad noticed that López had his pants unbuttoned and asked him if he was hiding something, the report said. López initially denied it.
The canine officer “began speaking with López at which time López admitted to have a methamphetamine glass pipe inside his anal cavity,” the police report said. “López then stated he placed it in his rectum as he was being pulled over so I wouldn’t find it if I searched his vehicle.”
A couple of weeks after the arrest, López was transferred from purchasing director to a leadership post in Public Works.
In the middle of February, when an el Nuevo Herald reporter asked Hernández the reasons for the transfer, the mayor said it was part of a restructuring.
However, documents signed in early February reveal that López signed a “Last Chance” agreement because of the arrest in Fort Lauderdale.
A spokesman for the Broward state attorney’s office said there is a hearing in López’s case scheduled for May 7.