Latest News

Fort Lauderdale fires police officer for affair with informant

A veteran police officer has been fired over allegations that he had a long-running sexual affair with a cocaine dealer-turned-confidential informant.

An internal affairs investigation concluded Officer Jason Maldonado began the affair shortly after he helped arrest the woman in 2006 and that the relationship continued while she helped police set up other drug deals, was under house arrest and completed court-ordered requirements to have her case dismissed.

The woman told investigators that during the affair, she and Maldonado had sex at a police substation and near the main downtown police station while he was on duty.

According to police statements, Maldonado visited the woman for sex while she was under house arrest. He would arrive in a police vehicle, in uniform and leave his radio on. She said he told her that her court-ordered, electronic-monitoring ankle bracelet was a turn-on for him.

Maldonado acknowledged the relationship, but said it began only after her case was resolved and that they never had sex while he was on duty.

"Your conduct not only demonstrated a lack of integrity and poor judgment, it also confirmed a flagrant disregard for department rules and regulations and violated the basic trust placed in you as a police officer," Chief Frank Adderley wrote in his letter firing Maldonado.

He joined the force in 2002 and was a member the Police Department's "Raiders" drug enforcement team. Maldonado could not be reached for comment, but Jack Lokeinsky of the Fraternal Order of Police said the union is representing him and is challenging his dismissal.

Maldonado has had a history of disciplinary problems. He was ordered to undergo extra training in 2008 after he and two other detectives broke into an apartment without a warrant, was suspended in 2007 for a day for conducting a sloppy investigation and reprimanded the same year for crashing his cruiser on Sistrunk Boulevard.

The Police Department has suspended Maldonado without pay until Oct. 12 when Adderley has ordered him fired. The investigation concluded he violated police policies by regularly associating with a criminal, using his position for personal gain, lying to investigators and engaging in conduct unbecoming a police officer.

The investigation began after the woman contacted the police internal affairs unit in April and alleged she and Maldonado had had an affair.

Officials decided she came forward out of anger at Maldonado but say they corroborated her story. She passed a polygraph test, and investigators gathered other evidence about the relationship including statements from witnesses, text messages and data from the GPS-tracking system in Maldonado's patrol car.

According to the investigative file, Maldonado was part of a team of detectives who arrested the woman in March 2006 after purchasing $2,500 worth of cocaine from her in a restaurant parking lot. She agreed to cooperate with police and soon helped in two narcotic operations.

Because of her assistance, she faced a reduced charge of cocaine possession and entered the first-time offender drug court treatment program. She was under house arrest for a month in the summer of 2006 and had the charge dismissed a year later.

Investigators concluded Maldonado started a sexual relationship with the woman within a week of her arrest. She said she was scared but agreed in hopes it would help her case.

"I felt like such the victim at the that time, but I would do anything because I was, was scared," she said in a statement to police. She added that Maldonado informed her to keep quiet about the relationship.

The internal affairs investigation found that Maldonado and the woman had 181 calls on his department-issued cell phone in the first 44 days after her arrest even though he was not the lead investigator. Officials allege the woman then got Maldonado a private cell phone so he could avoid conversations on the department phone.

She told officials that she also met Maldonado at the police station when he was working overtime in the booking facility and drive nearby for sex. And she said she accompanied Maldonado on a trip to Marco Island in 2006.

The woman provided text messages to police, including one that stated Maldonado was sexually aroused at that moment. She also turned over a toothbrush, hairbrush and black police "Raiders" shirt that she said were Maldonado's. And, she described a tattoo on Maldonado and displayed a picture she had on her cell phone of his dog "Buddy."

The relationship, she said, lasted through late 2009 and that Maldonado's wife confronted her about it this spring. Witnesses interviewed by police included her daughter, who said she saw her mother and Maldonado in bed together.

"Officer Maldonado betrayed the trust placed in him by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the public-at-large by initiating and pursuing a personal relationship with an admitted cocaine dealer, cooperating individual and eventual arrestee," Capt. Rick Maglione wrote in his internal affairs report.

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments