Miami River cop fugitive surrenders

MIAMI -- The last fugitive in the Miami River cop drug ripoff case of the 1980s surrendered Wednesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the FBI said.

Agent Paul Miller of the FBI said former Miami police officer Victor Zapata has been charged since July 1987 with possession and distribution of cocaine.


The arrest came exactly a week after the arrests in Cali, Colombia, of former Miami police officer Armando 'Scarface' Garcia, 31, and his father Torribio, 54. They arrived back in Miami Tuesday and were immediately jailed.

'Due to the media and police pressure from the Garcia arrests, Zapata turned himself in,' Miller said. 'The Miami police department is thrilled that Victor Zapata is in custody. That will end this chapter of the so-called Miami River cops case.'

Investigators say seven officers stole nearly a ton of cocaine in two separate thefts in 1985 from ships docked along the Miami River. During the second theft, three drug smugglers either jumped or were pushed into the river and drowned.

The first river cops trial ended in a mistrial in 1986 and the officers were released on bond. Prosecutors prepared a new more sweeping indictment which for the first time included Zapata. He soon disappeared.


Miller said a hearing on moving Zapata from Puerto Rico to Miami would be held later this week or next week.

The Garcias are also accused of conspiring to kill two key witnesses in the case.

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