FBI probes Miami PD 'protection racket'

Jan. 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Six Miami Police Department officers have resigned or been relieved of duty in an FBI investigation into an alleged protection racket, The Miami Herald said.

Citing official documents and sources it did not name, the newspaper said Thursday at least nine police officers are likely to face federal charges or internal discipline for allegedly providing protection for a sports-betting operation in a barber shop that police broke up in March 2011.

Nathaniel Dauphin, 41, suspected of helping set up the alleged protection scheme, and Malinsky Bazile, 27, suspected of what the Herald characterized as other criminal activity, were relieved of duty with pay, the department said. The Herald had previously reported Officer Lashunda Hodge, 31, was relieved of duty with pay.

Officer Harold James, resigned Nov. 27, without offering a reason for leaving the job but police department officials notified the Florida Department of Law Enforcement James left because he being investigated for "perjury or a false statement."

Officers Kenya Crocker, 39, Carol Vargas, 39, and Darryl Bryant, 51, are also under investigation, the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the case.

The report said the officers collected thousands of dollars in return for providing protection at the barber shop while off-duty. Citing court records, the newspaper said one gambler told police he thought the police department ran the barber shop because officers were there so often.

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