Seven suspended or former police officers were charged in indictments unsealed today with federal racketeering counts alleging they used murders, threats, bribery and robbery to take advantage of their positions to run a drug operation.
Six officers relieved of duty after their arrests on state charges last December were charged with carrying out "a pattern of racketeering activity including multiple robberies, murders, conspiracy to commit murder and possession with intent to distribute narcotics."
The 31-page, 21-count indictment charges all seven with conspiracy to commit racketeering and possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute.
Four Murder Victims
Four defendants were also charged with five civil rights violations, including that they unconstitutionally "deprived various individuals of their lives and properties." The indictment names four murder victims.
The state charges against the seven will be dropped, officials said. The indictments followed a joint federal-state investigation.
Trudi Novicki, an assistant state attorney designated as special assistant U.S. attorney for the case, said that while the state case was a first-degree murder investigation, prosecutors decided the investigation was becoming too complex because of the many federal violations and that for several reasons, including the safety of witnesses, it would be better to concentrate on the federal case.
Suspected Smugglers Drown
Three of the defendants were arrested last Dec. 27 and charged with murder stemming from a July 28, 1985, cocaine rip-off at the Miami River in which three reputed cocaine smugglers drowned as they fled uniformed officers, police have said.
They and the four other defendants were also charged with state counts including racketeering, cocaine trafficking and conspiracy.
The seven officers have been the key figures in police and federal inquiries that have resulted in criminal or administrative charges against at least 30 members of the 1,050-person Miami city police force.