A former Miami Beach firefighter and Miami-Dade police officer were sentenced Wednesday for their participation in a drug trafficking conspiracy and the use of a firearm during that crime, the state's attorney announced.
Henry L. Bryant, a former firefighter, was sentenced to 22 years in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release. Daniel Mack, a former police officer, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by five years years of supervised release. Octavius Mclendon was sentenced to 20 years and 8 months in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.
In a press release, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said, “Bryant and Mack, a firefighter and police officer, betrayed the public trust when they agreed to transport and protect what they believed to be multiple kilograms of cocaine. Although their conduct tarnished their badges, it did not tarnish those of the honorable men and women who serve and protect our community faithfully every day. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law.”
“Public corruption at any level will not be tolerated, including when public servants violate the community’s trust by transporting what they believe to be cocaine,” said Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Division. “Our success in this investigation is the direct result of the exceptional cooperation among the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through participation in the Miami Area Corruption Task Force.”
Mack, Bryant, and Mclendon were convicted by a jury after trial of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The defendants were also convicted of attempted possession with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime.
According to prosecutors, in early December 2011, an undercover FBI agent and Bryant discussed the possibility of recruiting police officers who could provide protection for the movement of cocaine. In the following weeks, during recorded meetings and conversations, Bryant explained that he knew police officers who would escort the cocaine and that he would personally move the cocaine in his own vehicle, investigators said. After reaching an agreement with the undercover agent, Bryant and Mclendon transported what they believed to be cocaine from a nightclub in Miami Beach to pre-determined drop-off points in Miami-Dade County on two separate occasions, prosecutors argued. The defendants were accused of moving about nine kilograms of sham cocaine on December 21, 2011; and about ten kilograms of sham cocaine on January 14, 2012.
On both occasions, Bryant and Mclendon picked up the sham cocaine and returned for cash payment, investigators said. On both occasions, prosecutors said Bryant and Mclendon were escorted by Mack in his Miami-Dade Police Department police cruiser. Mack had been introduced to the undercover agent as a police officer who would be providing security for the movement of cocaine, prosecutors argued. At that meeting, Mack wore his Miami-Dade Police Department uniform, was armed, and drove his Miami-Dade police cruiser, investigators said. For these two transactions, prosecutors said the undercover agent paid the defendants a total of $25,000 in cash pay-offs.
The case was investigated by the FBI Miami Area Public Corruption Task Force, assisted by the Miami-Dade Police Department Professional Compliance Bureau and U.S. Customs Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robin W. Waugh and Jared E. Dwyer.