Documents detail Miami-Dade undercover operation leading to fatal shooting
Detectives shot and killed Sergio Javier Azcuy, a suspected armed robber, after an informant helped set up a staged cocaine heist.
06/30/2012 5:00 AM
07/01/2012 6:18 PM
The shooting of a Hialeah man happened after undercover Miami-Dade police officers staged a fake cocaine rip-off aimed at arresting a crew of armed robbers, newly obtained court documents show.
A detective shot and killed Sergio Javier Azcuy, 46, a passenger in a green Kia Sephia stopped by police in West Kendall on May 17.
According to federal and state court documents, investigators say Azcuy and suspected ringleader Heriberto Ortiz thought they were headed to rob a cocaine stash house. Instead, Miami-Dade police pulled the pair over at a staged accident scene to slow traffic and make the arrest.
Azcuy reached for a “dark shiny” object, spurring a Miami-Dade robbery detective to fire twice. Records do not indicate whether Azcuy was armed.
Homicide detectives did find a cell phone in his hand, according to a search warrant.
The documents reveal the first in-depth details of the events that led up to Azcuy’s death.
The undercover operation, conducted in conjunction with federal agents, comes a year after the same Miami-Dade robbery unit arranged a heist that ended when officers shot and killed four armed robbers, including the confidential informant they were working with, in the Redlands.
Because of the ongoing investigation, Miami-Dade police declined to comment on the shooting.
Ortiz, 44, was charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, selling narcotics and interfering with commerce by threat. He is awaiting trial.
Details of the case are laid out in a federal criminal complaint against Ortiz and in a warrant, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, to search the Kia.
This is what happened, according to the documents:
In May 2011, Miami-Dade detective Wayne A. Peart, detached to a federal task force, “received information” that Ortiz was looking for a drug stash house to rob.
Detectives dispatched a confidential informant with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Wearing a wire and as undercover detectives videotaped the meeting, the informant met with Ortiz in the parking lot of a Hialeah Sports Authority. He claimed he was a courier and knew of a house used to stash large amounts of cocaine. Ortiz said his Orlando-based crew, which included his brother, would be willing to help with the heist.
The informant insisted on meeting Ortiz’s brother. When Ortiz relayed that to his brother, the brother grew wary, telling Ortiz “that when the police work undercover, they ask to meet all the participants in the robbery.”
The informant assured Ortiz that he only wanted to meet the crew to ensure he got his share of the cocaine. A meeting was set up in Fort Pierce, but later called off because “security and logistical” concerns, according to the complaint.
The proposed heist fizzled. Almost a year later, the informant and Ortiz were talking again.
In April, they were discussing setting up another home invasion robbery, this time with a new crew based in South Florida.
ATF worked the case with Miami-Dade’s Street Terror Offender Program, known as STOP, according to the search warrant.
On April 27, the informant and Ortiz met in the parking lot of La Carreta restaurant in Hialeah. Again, detectives secretly videotaped.
The informant spun a tale: he was to pick up five kilos of cocaine from a stash house. The drugs would be arriving in two weeks, and would be guarded by two armed men.
“Ortiz responded that he would push his way through the door,” the complaint read. “In addition, one of Ortiz’s associates assured the [informant] that he would shoot anyone inside the house if necessary.”
Two weeks later, the informant met Ortiz at the Burger King, just south of Miami International Airport. Twenty-two kilos of high-grade cocaine were en route from Mexico, he claimed. They would grab a few kilos.
Ortiz told the informant that “if necessary to divert suspicion,” Ortiz would hit the man in the head, “tie him up, and leave him somewhere west of Krome Avenue.”
Seven days later, the informant — wearing a wire — met with Ortiz and his associates at Southwest 147th Avenue and 104th Street before heading to the fictitious stash house.
The informant drove in a separate car, actually an undercover police vehicle. Ortiz was in the Kia.
At Southwest 120th Street and 140th Avenue, near the Tamiami Airport, Miami-Dade officers had staged a traffic accident to control traffic and slowly “funnel” the Kia over to where the officers were.
At the intersection, a uniformed Miami-Dade officer Gregory Louis directed traffic and pulled over the Kia.
Detectives approached and “gave loud verbal commands” for the men in the car to show their hands. Ortiz “complied immediately and put up his hands,” according to the search warrant.
But Azcuy “disregarded the officers’ verbal commands” and “made an evasive move and reached down toward the floor board of the car.”
“A dark shiny object was observed within his right hand,” according to the search warrant. Miami-Dade Detective Fernando Sacasas, of the Robbery Intervention Detail unit, fired twice, killing Azcuy.
A bullet proof vest was found on the floor of the car’s backseat and a black Metro PCS phone was found “in hand,” the warrant said.
Both men are no strangers to the law.
Azcuy has state convictions, stretching back to the early 1990s, for marijuana and cocaine possession and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Ortiz has convictions for drug possession and a 1998 armed robbery, for which he was sentenced to seven years in prison, according to county clerk records. He was released in November 2004, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
Miami-Dade’s STOP unit has been involved in several high-profile police shootings.
Last July, the unit used an informant to convince a group of violent armed robbers to rob a supposed stash house in the Redlands. The men were armed, the department said.
When the men refused to obey orders, Miami-Dade’s Special Response Team opened fire, killing three plus the informant, who police said was supposed to stay in his car.
In a similar operation, the Special Response Team shot four robbers in February 2007, killing two, at a Doral-area warehouse parking lot during what the gang thought was a heist to steal 60 kilos of cocaine from a cargo truck. The scenario was actually staged by police. The key informant in that case was not injured.
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