River Cities

Federal appeals court upholds nine-year sentence for ex-Miami Springs cop

Former Miami Springs Sgt. Andres Quintanilla in 2014.
Former Miami Springs Sgt. Andres Quintanilla in 2014. Miami Herald File

The U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a nine-year sentence imposed on former Miami Springs police Sgt. Andres Quintanilla, imprisoned for acting as an escort during a 10-kilogram cocaine deal in 2014.

Quintanilla, then 33, was arrested in May 2015 by the FBI on a federal corruption charge. According to the federal complaint, a confidential FBI source said he told Quintanilla in September 2014 that he was a drug trafficker.

Instead of arresting the source, Quintanilla “offered to help the [informant’s] drug trafficking business.”

The sergeant, also a Coral Gables realtor, pleaded guilty July 6, 2015, to one count of “attempting to affect commerce by extortion under color of law, “ according to a plea agreement filed with the U.S. District Court in Miami.

Miami Springs fired Quintanilla the next day.

At the Sept. 24, 2015, sentencing hearing, an attempt by Quintanilla's attorney for a punishment of 57 months was denied.

Instead, Chief U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced Quintanilla to 108 months in prison, fined him $5,000 and ordered another year of probation upon release.

Quintanilla received a “two-level enhancement” because a “dangerous weapon was possessed.”

“I had a reputation since the police academy, your honor, of being the bookworm, the book-smart person, never really was respected I felt,” Quintanilla said last year at his sentencing hearing. “I’ve lost everything I’ve worked for because of my stupidity.”

Quintanilla asked for a two-level reduction and contended that a firearm “was not in connection with the offense.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Aug. 19 that Quintanilla’s firearm facilitated the offense because it was available for use as a weapon to protect the source “from something going wrong.”

Quintanilla’s expected release date from federal prison is July 23, 2023.