MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Miami Police Department has launched an Internal Affairs investigation after a retired lieutenant assisted a supervisor in a drug investigation earlier this month, police confirmed.
Miami police spokesman Michael Vega said an internal investigation is underway after retired Lt. Nestor Garcia, 50, was arrested Friday on charges of impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment.
Vega declined to identify the supervisor, telling Local 10 News that he did not have that information, citing the ongoing investigation.
Garcia's arrest stems from a Feb. 13 incident involving two men at an apartment building at 2741 SW Fifth St.
According to an arrest report, Yosvany Rojas was throwing away garbage outside his home when Garcia pulled up in a silver Honda Accord. Rojas told police there was also a marked City of Miami police vehicle parked outside his building.
Rojas said Garcia and a police officer approached him. He said Garcia told him, "I am a police officer. What are you doing outside?" while grabbing his shirt and escorting him to the front of the building.
Police said Garcia pushed the victim against a vehicle and searched him while the officer stood to the side, observing but not partaking in the search.
According to the arrest report, Garcia also searched a second person who was outside, Jonathan Vargas, and told the victims, "I am here because I am receiving complaints about weed and people selling weed here."
Rojas told authorities that he requested Garcia and the police officer to have a supervisor respond to the scene. The officer allegedly told the victim that Garcia was the supervisor.
"He is the boss," the victim said the cop told him.
Police said Rojas allowed Garcia to search his apartment. Authorities said the officer stood by the door and did not partake in the search.
After a brief search, the duo left the scene, the arrest report stated.
Police said the Rojas's girlfriend, who witnessed the incident, requested that their landlord come to the building Thursday regarding a separate incident.
When the landlord arrived, the woman noticed that Garcia was sitting in the passenger seat of the landlord's SUV, the report stated.
Police said the woman asked Garcia, "Aren't you the officer that came the other day?"
Garcia responded, "Yeah, I am," the report stated.
Police said the woman asked for Garcia's name and rank and he wrote his name on a piece of paper.
The woman then called her boyfriend to come over.
Police said Rojas went to the building and told the landlord and Garcia, "I am going to call the police."
Garcia and the landlord left before authorities arrived, police said.
Garcia was arrested the next day on charges of falsely impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment.
He bonded out of jail Friday evening and told Local 10 News that the allegations against him were "all false."
Vega confirmed that dispatch was aware of the incident. It's unclear whether they knew Garcia was assisting the supervisor.
Garcia, who served the city of Miami for more than two decades, was once voted officer of the year by his peers.