MIAMI — A senior drug agent and a former policeman who once was a bodyguard for singer Julio Iglesias have been arrested on charges of taking bribes and conspiring to distribute cocaine, officials said today.
"If you deal in drugs, you will be caught," U.S. Atty. Dexter Lehtinen said at a news conference. "Even ex-cops and current federal agents who think they can beat the system will be caught, and they will be caught by their own agencies."
The two were arrested over the weekend. Several other suspects also were expected to be arrested, according to law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Already in custody was Jorge Villar, 44, a 14-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration who supervised a team on a South Florida drug task force, officials said. The DEA is regarded as the nation's elite force in the war on drugs and has maintained a generally clean reputation.
The other suspect was identified as Alex Marrero, 34, a former Metro-Dade County policeman who was among four officers acquitted in May, 1980, in the beating death of black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.
The acquittal set off three days of rioting in Miami's black neighborhoods that left 18 people dead and more than $100 million in property damage.
Villar, who was arrested Saturday at the DEA office in Miami, was accused of offering to provide protection to a DEA informant who told them he wanted to smuggle cocaine from the Bahamas to Miami, officials said.
The informant, acting on instructions from other DEA agents, pretended to smuggle the cocaine, and Villar and Marrero are alleged to have demanded $300,000 for their services, officials said.
When Villar was arrested, he had $355,000 in certificates of deposit in his briefcase, Lehtinen said.
Marrero, who was fired by the Metro-Dade police department despite his 1980 acquittal, had been working as a bodyguard and once headed a security team that protected singer Iglesias at his Miami mansion.