Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco was on his routine jog Sunday morning in South Beach when he spotted something out of the ordinary — what appeared to be a homeless man trying to peddle drugs, he said.
“I see what is obviously a hand-to-hand transaction,” he said. “I saw him showing baggies to a group of two or three people.”
The man, who police later identified as Jacobo Chigin, was arrested and charged with drug possession and resisting arrest — but not before leading police and Grieco on a bit of a foot chase.
When he first stumbled upon the suspicious activity at about 9 a.m. in the area of 14th Street and Collins Avenue, Grieco, a former prosecutor, quickly called a police officer whom he had seen about two blocks away.
“My instincts kicked in,” he said.
An officer was there within minutes, but Chigin, who was on a bicycle, had no intention of making it easy on police, according to his arrest report.
“The defendant spoke to this officer while riding away and said, ‘I’m not stopping,’ and then picked up speed,” an officer wrote in the report.
That’s when Grieco took off running after him. He said he had no intention of catching him, he only wanted to make sure he kept his eyes on him and the evidence.
“I saw him hide something behind a dumpster,” he said. “Without the evidence, they wouldn’t have a case.”
Police later recovered a clear bag with seven buds of suspected cannabis and bag that contained seven small bags that each had suspected crack cocaine, according to Chigin’s arrest report.
After police caught up with him, Chigin “spontaneously stated, ‘I’m a drug addict and I got to make a living,’ ” the officer wrote.
Chigin was being held in jail Sunday night and was expected to go before a judge Monday.