Policeman Indicted for Aiding and Abetting a Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and for Extortion
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 31, 2014|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Filed Office, and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), announce the indictment of Roderick Silva, 45, of Miami, a police officer who formerly served as a detective assigned to the MDPD Narcotics Bureau. The indictment charges Silva with one count of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, and one of count of extortion in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951.
The conspiracy charge against Officer Silva alleges that he aided and abetted a group of persons who were illegally growing hydroponic marijuana in numerous homes that they owned, rented, or otherwise controlled, in the south west Miami-Dade County area. The conspiracy charge further identified this group of persons as members of the Santiesteban family, and their friends and associates. The Santiesteban family members, and a number of their friends and associates, have already been convicted in a federal prosecution brought against them in 2012 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 1000 marijuana plants. They pled guilty to that charge in 2013, and are serving long prison sentences.
The conspiracy charge also alleges that Officer Silva aided and abetted the Santiesteban family members, and their friends and associates, in their marijuana growing activities by providing them with confidential MDPD information about when MDPD narcotics detectives were investigating them, and when they might have their marijuana grow houses searched, and their marijuana plants seized; and by providing advice to the Santiestebans and their friends and associates about how to avoid, deflect, frustrate, and obstruct those MDPD investigations and by providing confidential MDPD information about suspected grow houses operated by other marijuana growers, so the Santiestebans and their friends and associates could rob those grow houses of their marijuana plants.
The extortion count of the indictment charges that Officer Silva obtained money from Santiesteban family members, “under color of official right.” It specifies that Officer Silva received $1500 cash on January 5, 2011, in Miami-Dade County for “maintaining his silence and not disclosing to any law enforcement authorities all that he knew about the illegal, criminal activities of the Santiesteban family members.”
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “We are especially saddened when a public servant misuses his position of trust to engage in criminal conduct. Mr. Silva’s criminal conduct not only undermined the trust of this community, but also undermined the trust of the officers who served by his side. Today’s indictment sends a message to all public officials who commit crime that they are not above the law and that they will be brought to justice.”
“Mr. Silva’s actions undermines the public’s trust in law enforcement, as well as betrays the officers and agents who worked by his side” said Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division. “Silva must now face the consequences of his actions in large part due to the dedication and commitment of the Miami Dade Police Department and the FBI.”
Director J.D. Patterson stated, “The community’s trust is vital to us and make no mistake, the Miami-Dade Police Department remains committed in seeking out, identifying, and ridding itself of individuals who violate that trust. This violation of trust tarnishes the badge of every hard-working officer who risks his/her life daily to protect this community. We appreciate the partnership and support of our federal partners during this sensitive investigation.”
If convicted, Officer Silva faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison up to life in prison on the aiding and abetting a conspiracy count and up to 20 years in prison on the extortion count.
An indictment is only an accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of FBI and MDPD. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Sullivan and Andy Camacho.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.