Crime

Ex-Miami state trooper and commission aide accused of buying heroin from undercover cop

Miami-Dade Assistant Public Defender Alex Annunziato, a former state trooper and county commission aide, was charged this week with a felony county of purchasing narcotics.
Miami-Dade Assistant Public Defender Alex Annunziato, a former state trooper and county commission aide, was charged this week with a felony county of purchasing narcotics. Miami Herald Archive

Alexander Annunziato, former state trooper, one-time county political aide and current Miami criminal defense lawyer, has been arrested on allegations he bought two bags of heroin from an undercover detective.

Annunziato was arrested earlier this week in Allapattah, just down the street from his office at the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office. He was charged with purchasing a controlled substance.

He did not answer his phone on Wednesday afternoon. Court records do not list a defense lawyer. He has been suspended without pay from his position as an assistant public defender.

The 38-year-old lawyer formerly worked as a lieutenant and media spokesman with the Florida Highway Patrol. In 2005, he also ran unsuccessfully for a seat with the Miami Beach city commission.

He later took a job as the legislative director for Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Esteban "Steve" Bovo. But last year, he lost his job after Miami police found him passed out in a county SUV after apparently colliding with two other unoccupied cars.

Before the crash, Annunziato helped write the Bovo-sponsored ordinance that legalized Uber and was also active in the private legal discussions surrounding Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s change in county policy toward immigration detention requests.

He landed with the Public Defender's Office, which represents poor defendants who cannot afford lawyers.

According to a police report, Annunziato contacted an undercover Miami-Dade detective who was posing as a drug dealer and asked to buy two $10 baggies of heroin. He later met with the undercover detective outside the Walgreens on the 1600 block of Northwest 20th Street, handing over $20 and taking the drugs, police said.

He was immediately arrested and booked into jail; he has since posted bond. His arraignment is scheduled for June 13.

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