Miami police officer arrested on charges of protecting drug dealer

Twice earlier this month, Miami police officer Jose Maldonado-Dick, dressed in full uniform and carrying his weapon, spied on drug deals in a McDonald's parking lot, offering protection to a man he thought was a drug dealer as several kilos of cocaine exchanged hands, state prosecutors say.

For his services, Maldonado-Dick was paid a total of $1,900.

What the officer didn't know: Miami police were watching him and secretly recording the deals.

Maldonado-Dick was arrested Wednesday after reporting to work. He's been charged with two counts of cocaine trafficking and two counts of being unlawfully rewarded while working as a cop.

No bond has been set for offenses that could mean up to a life sentence if he’s convicted.

“Officer Maldonado-Dick provided protection for a drug dealer,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “And he did it in full uniform.”

At a hastily called press conference at the state attorney's office late Wednesday afternoon, police and prosecutors said they learned of Maldonado-Dick's alleged crime back in July, when they received information that the seven-year patrol cop had approached someone about organizing a drug deal.

By the end of September, the arrest warrant says, an informant made the first of several phone calls to Maldonado-Dick about meeting to set drug transactions in which the cop would offer protection while staying out of sight.

In the first meeting, on Oct. 3, the warrant says Maldonado-Dick warned the informant not to acknowledge his presence because he was coming with a partner.

“Shortly thereafter, an undercover police officer arrived and conducted a three kilogram cocaine transaction in plain sight,” the arrest warrant says.

A week later, the warrant says, 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 this time collecting $1,000.

Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami police union, issued a press release Wednesday saying if the allegations are true, Maldonado-Dick should “be held accountable for his actions.” But Ortiz added the officer has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa, who also attended Wednesday's press conference, said Maldonado-Dick is in his 30s, married, has three children and lives in Broward County. Orosa said police couldn't release too much information because of the need to protect the informant. He said the investigation is ongoing.

“I will move as swiftly as the process allows to terminate the employment of Mr. Maldonado,” Orosa said. “It's a sad day, but a happy one... We clean our ranks of corruption.”