An already imprisoned ex-Miami police sergeant implored a judge to give him a break on his new sentence for retaliating against fellow officers who helped the FBI in a corruption probe of his drug-fighting squad.
“I’ve been a servant of my city and my country,” Raul Iglesias, 42, told U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro on Friday. “I’m a patriot. … I consider myself a role model in prison.”
But the judge was not impressed with the former Miami cop and U.S. Marine, who is already serving a four-year sentence for a corruption conviction. Ungaro called his additional contempt crime “offensive.”
“I think he should be punished for extremely poor judgment and lack of a moral compass,” she said, giving Iglesias an additional 11/2 years for his contempt conviction.
Iglesias’ defense attorney Roy Kahn urged the judge to give him one year and three months, to no avail. “I know it’s only three months’ difference, but to someone in prison it’s a lot,” Kahn told Ungaro.
In June, Iglesias pleaded guilty to posting undercover investigative recordings on a law enforcement website and on YouTube in an effort to smear the reputations of colleagues in his now-disbanded narcotics squad who helped build the case against him.
Iglesias was convicted of violating a judge’s protective order by posting the telephone recordings of two fellow Miami police detectives who had engaged him in conversations under the direction of federal investigators.
Both Miami officers worked for Iglesias when he ran the department’s undercover drug-fighting squad. The two phone recordings were not used at Iglesias’ trial last year, but they were still “protected” from disclosure, even after trial, under the judge’s order, according to federal prosecutor Kimberly Selmore.
Iglesias was charged with criminal contempt and retaliating against witnesses by posting the phone recordings on April 24, 2013 — two days before he was to begin his four-year prison sentence for stealing drugs and money from dope dealers.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga, who presided over Iglesias’ trial in January 2013, decided to enforce her protective order after federal prosecutors brought the alleged violation to her attention in May of last year.
“It was never my intention to purposefully violate Judge Altonaga’s protective order,” Iglesias said in court Friday.
Ungaro said she was troubled by his misconduct because he abused his position as a police officer. “He did it — whether he benefited or not — to cause harm,” the judge said. “And that is offensive to me.”
In June of last year, Judge Altonaga ordered “the person using the screen name Chivas Regal” to remove the protected audio recordings from the two sites immediately, without identifying the name of the actual person who posted them. The phone recordings were then removed.
At trial, federal prosecutors Ricardo Del Toro and Michael Berger painted Iglesias as a rogue sergeant who over the course of five months in 2010 planted cocaine on a suspect, stole drugs and money from dope dealers, and lied about a box of cash left in an abandoned car as part of an FBI sting.
A second detective, Roberto Asanza, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges stemming from the same investigation.
During the tense trial, Asanza testified against his former boss. Four other detectives who worked on Iglesias’ Crime Suppression Team also testified against him.