A Friend In Need? Not!
MW had big problems. A quiet, reserved guy in his 20’s with no prior record and very few friends, he had left his last job laying tile because of continuing shoulder injuries. He had prescribed pain killers that he had grown dependent on. But, still on his mother’s insurance, the cost wasn’t an issue.
One day, he gets a call from a former co-worker, Humberto “Kiko” Rodriguez, and he’s glad to hear from him. At first. Then he finds out why Kiko is calling - he wants MW to sell him some of MW’s pain pills. No can do, MW tells him. Kiko is persistent, calling several more times, saying please, I lost my job, I got arrested, my kids need food, etc.
Finally MW relents, “I may know a guy,” he tells Kiko. He agrees to set up a deal between someone who had sold him a few pills in the past to tide him over and Kiko’s “cousin”.
You see where this is going? Kiko was working as a snitch and the “cousin” was a TPD cop. The cop made sure that a deal was set up for enough pills to make a trafficking case, which carries stiffer penalties than simple delivery.
It gets better. As I investigated the case, I found that Kiko had numerous felony convictions, that he had been in extensive trouble in Miami, where he started his career as a snitch, and then also worked as a paid confidential informant for Orlando cops. He had moved over here and, after getting arrested for DUI and losing his job, because it was the boss’ car he wrecked in the DUI, decided to try his snitch moonlighting job here. “By the way”, he told the cop who signed him up, “I also need a little help with this DUI”. Which the cop gave him!
So in order to create a few crimes to report to the cops so he could deliver his side of the deal, Kiko started looking for suckers. He finally persuades MW to help him out, and contrary to what you might think, TPD doesn't even supervise this guy while he’s out making crimes, much less record or document his actions.
The deal goes down, MW carries the package of pills from the supplier to the cop and MW gets charged with trafficking, a crime that carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 3 years and a maximum of 30. All for trying to help out a friend in need, and his kids, for Pete’s sake.
But, as you’ve seen Kiko was not a friend. He was an agent of law enforcement who persuaded or enticed MW to get involved in this at all. It's what we call entrapment. It’s also what the jury called entrapment. Not guilty after less than 30 minutes of deliberation.
You know they thought it was entrapment, but I also bet they felt a little dirty being a part of a community that condones this type of “policing”. Because Deandre Morris, the dealer, you know the guy who actually provided the drugs and had been a drug dealer for years and had at least 4-5 felony convictions himself, did not even get charged. He agreed to be a snitch and the cops let him go, right there on the spot.
Now you think it doesn’t get better? Wrong! The fact that Kiko was working for the cops got around pretty fast. For a “confidential” informant that’s a problem. One day, the former boss of MW and Kiko happens to run into Kiko while on a job. He tells Kiko that he doesn’t respect Kiko for working with the cops. Kiko says, “How did you know?” and the boss says, “Because I heard you set up MW.” The snitch replies, “I’ll get his punk ass,” and calls his TPD handler to allege that MW had come out to his home with 7 or 8 guys and threatened him unless he gave MW back the money the cops took from him, the money he had to pay to get his car back and the money he had to pay for a lawyer.
MW got arrested that night for witness tampering, and as soon as I heard the allegations, I knew it was BS. The cops didn’t take any money from MW because he didn’t have any. He didn’t have to pay for the car to be released because it was his girlfriend’s car and they gave it back to her within an hour at no cost and his Mom had hired me. Plus MW doesn’t even have 7 friends.
We then established an alibi for MW showing he was nowhere near Kiko’s house at the time and was with other people who could vouch for him. But when Kiko changed his story to the cops, we had him locked in a lie. He now said it was MW and the boss who came over. I contacted the boss and he told me what really happened and after giving the State his affidavit, the witness tampering charge was dropped.
You might think that the State would re-evaluate their case against MW in the trafficking charge but they didn’t. You also might think that TPD would stop using this proven liar but, last I heard, he’s still making cases for the cops.
Had the jury in the trafficking case known “the rest of the story”, not only would they have found MW not guilty, they might have found the cops guilty of something.