Miami-Dade County

Miami cop charged with bribery in towing probe

A Miami police officer surrendered to federal authorities Monday on charges of accepting cash bribes for providing “pirate” tow-truck operators with information about traffic accidents.

Julio Ruiz, 42, pleaded not guilty to misusing his position and was released on a $200,000 bond before U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga in Miami federal court.

Ruiz was charged with three counts of accepting bribes totaling $1,800 between April and June of 2013. In addition, he received a cellular phone.

Ruiz was among three Miami police officers and two public service aides relieved of duty in December stemming from an FBI probe of alleged bribery schemes between local law enforcement agencies and towing companies.

The other two city officers relieved of duty were Michael Bode and Artice Peoples. They have not been charged.

So far, 11 defendants have been convicted in the ongoing corruption investigation into unlawful towing referrals for kickback payments.