Ex-police officer who aided drug dealers gets 15 years in prison

Schonton Harris took money to protect drug traffickers, money launderers

Former Miami police Officer Schonton Harris pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

MIAMI – A former Miami police officer convicted on drug trafficking charges was sentenced to 15 1/2 years in prison Wednesday.

Schonton Harris, 53, pleaded guilty to her involvement in the conspiracy in January.

"The sentence announced today is a victory for all law enforcement officers who protect and serve our community with pride, honor and dignity," U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said. 

According to a criminal affidavit, Schonton Harris, a 20-year veteran of the police force, agreed to accept cash payments in exchange for protecting the activities of drug traffickers and money launderers.

The affidavit said she recruited fellow officers Kelvin Harris and James Archibald to participate in the scheme. They were also charged.

The FBI said Schonton Harris was paid a total of $17,000, while Kelvin Harris earned $10,000 and Archibald made $6,500.

Federal agents began investigating the three officers after Miami police Chief Jorge Colina received a citizen complaint.

Agents said the people the officers thought were drug dealers were actually undercover agents or cooperating witnesses.

Harris and Archibald are scheduled for trial later this year.