A Miami cop was arrested by the FBI after being accused of stealing drugs and money from suspects during traffic stops – some of whom turned out to be undercover agents, according to NBC Miami.
Frenel Cenat, 40, was arrested on Thursday on charges which include attempted Hobbs Act extortion, theft of government funds, and attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine, according to the report, citing jail and court records.
Cenat, a Miami Police officer since September 2008, had worked for the property and evidence unit since 2020. After a confidential source tipped off the FBI to Cenat’s behavior – conducting traffic stops of people known to have just engaged in drug transactions, and then stealing the money or drugs they were transporting, they launched an investigation.
Cenat would use his official police vehicle to conduct the traffic stops and would be in his police uniform, the affidavit said.
Cenat was recorded on video and audio “coordinating schemes and conducting traffic stops of two individuals who he was told had just engaged in drug transactions, with the intention of stealing the money and/or drugs involved in those illegal transactions,” the affidavit said. –NBC Miami
According to the affidavit, Cenat admitted that he would pull the schemes while off duty and outside his jurisdiction.
“On duty they (MPD) got computers on and can track you and s— like that…you know what I mean…ping your phone… what you are doing in this area,” he said, according to the affidavit. “You don’t wanna do that s— bro while you are on duty…If I work down there I will never f— down there bro.”
Cenat also described several prior incidents involving drug transactions in which he coerced individuals to give up their stash, money, or both in order to avoid going to jail.
In October, he discussed stopping a person who had just done a drug deal, from whom he stole $50,000 – saying “I just need bread now.”
On Nov. 3, two undercover FBI agents bought 3 kg of cocaine for $52,000 in Miami Gardens, after Cenat arranged to steal from one of them, according to the affidavit.
As one left, Cenat followed and stopped them, identified himself as “Officer Martez” with “Miami PD – Dade County Narcotics Unit” and told them he’d witnessed the drug transaction, the affidavit said.
Cenat gave the undercover agent the choice of giving him a backpack containing the cash or going to jail, and the agent gave him the bag, the affidavit said.
After that incident, the informant and Cenat discussed another theft scheduled for Nov. 16 in which someone would be stopped with 6 or 7 kilos of cocaine and at least $30,000 in cash in Deerfield Beach, the affidavit said. -NBC Miami
According to the affidavit, Cenat said he would give the cocaine to the informant and his associate to sell, and they would split the money.
On Nov. 16, the FBI staged another fake drug transaction. Cenat took the bait, following an undercover agent and pulling them over. He introduced himself to the agent as “Officer Martez” with the “Broward County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit,” then took a duffel bag containing $80,000 in cash and approximately 7 kilos of DEA prop drugs.
“You want to go home tonight or spend 30 years in …federal prison?” Cenat asked the officer, before demanding his phone number.
“You now work for me,” he continued. “When I call…you better answer.”
“If I call you and you don’t answer…I’m coming for you,” he continued.
Cenat later met wit the informant in Coral Springs to split the bounty, when the FBI appeared and arrested him.
“The Miami Police Department is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure the integrity of our agency is beyond reproach. The arrest of Officer Cenat is the result of a joint operation focused on identifying corrupt cops, and it’s an example of the repercussions when one of our own betrays their oath of office and tarnishes their badge,” according to Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales.
“I stand firmly committed to transparency and ensuring the community’s trust is upheld throughout this investigation.”
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