A Miami police officer who offered protection for a cocaine dealer is headed to prison for 42 months.
Jose Maldonado-Dick, 37, was sentenced Friday, three weeks after pleading guilty to attempted cocaine trafficking, official misconduct and unlawful compensation. He has already been fired from the police department.
Prosecutors said Maldonado-Dick in the fall of 2014 accepted $1,900 to serve as muscle for a man he believed was a cocaine dealer, though the man was actually working with public-corruption investigators.
Maldonado-Dick parked his car at a Biscayne Boulevard McDonald’s — serving as silent protection — while the man completed a cocaine deal with an undercover detective.
A week later, prosecutors said, Maldonado-Dick met the informant, who paid him $900.
A similar transaction took place almost two weeks later, also at McDonald's, but involving seven kilos of cocaine, the arrest warrant said. A week after that, the warrant says, Maldonado-Dick again met with the informant, this time at a restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard, and collected $1,000.
Investigators secretly recorded all the transactions.
His lawyer, Carlos Pelayo Gonzalez, said the informant told the officer he was working as a government informant — and Maldonado-Dick was just trying to help. “You really can’t blame the officer for helping a man he thought was working for police,” Pelayo Gonzalez said.
But Maldonado-Dick acknowledged he shouldn’t have taken the money, the lawyer said.
Under the plea deal, Maldonado-Dick must also serve three years of probation and give up his law-enforcement credentials.
“He can never again be a police officer,” prosecutor Warren Eth told the judge on Friday.