Feds: Raleigh police officer sold drugs to informant while on duty – WRAL News

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Published: 2022-02-23 21:00:00
Updated: 2022-02-24 17:51:58
Posted February 23, 2022 9:00 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2022 5:51 p.m. EST
By Amanda Lamb, WRAL reporter
— A Raleigh police officer has been arrested, charged with selling drugs while he was on duty, according to the department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Federal officials said Keven Rodriguez, a field operations division officer with the Raleigh Police Department, was arrested late Wednesday.
He was charged with distribution of cocaine and possession of a firearm.
Rodriguez’s first court appearance was Thursday morning.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Micheal Easley emphasized during the press conference that “a complaint is merely an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
Officials said Raleigh police and the DEA received anonymous complaints in the fall of 2021 about the officer involving the distribution of controlled substances. The agencies immediately launched an investigation.
As part of the investigation, a confidential source agreed to meet Rodriguez on Jan. 24 at an abandoned car dealership along Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. The informant gave the officer $2,600 in cash and Rodriguez gave him a substance in return, the criminal complaint said.
Federal authorities allege the drug exchange happened while the officer was on duty, in uniform, driving in his patrol car and with his service weapon.
Investigators watched the drug deal go down via surveillance audio and video device worn by the informant, according to the criminal complaint.
Federal documents said Rodriguez was hired by the Raleigh Police Department in 2018 and was arrested by the DEA in the midst of a drug investigation.
The case is being prosecuted federally because of the amount of drugs involved — 56 grams of cocaine.
“Law enforcement is a noble and responsible profession. It’s an honorable profession,” Easley said. “But one who wears the badge breaks the law, it breaches the public’s trust.”
The Raleigh Police Department spearheaded this investigation and should be commended for their efforts, Easley said.
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said it is important to share the announcement with the public and maintain transparency.
“Today is an occasion that no head of a law enforcement agency desires for their department. The arrest of Mr. Rodriguez is a disappointment to me, the Raleigh Police Department and the citizens and residents of our community,” she said.
Patterson emphasized that the alleged actions of one officer does not represent the Raleigh Police Department as a whole.
“Law enforcement will stand up and stand together. Countless members of law enforcement who do their jobs honorably every day will stand up to even hold their own accountable,” Easley said.
Rodriguez faces a minimum penalty of five years in prison if convicted and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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