Miami-Dade police officer charged with dealing in stolen trucks

Investigators allege veteran, associate arranged sale of stolen pickup trucks

MIAMI – A Miami-Dade police officer and an associate have been charged with dealing in stolen trucks.

Officer Orestes Santiago Verdura, a six-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Ariel Sanchez, 38, we both charged with two counts of dealing in stolen property, one count of conspiracy to commit organizaed scheme to defraud and one count of organized scheme to defraud.

All charges are third-degree felonies.

The charges came after an investigation showed Verdura arranged for the sale of two Ford F-250 pickup trucks that had been reported stolen in Palm Beach County.

According to the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, payments for both sales were made in official county funds to Verdura, who collected the payments while in duty and dressed in his police uniform while driving a marked police vehicle.

"Today's arrest although extremely disappointing, in no way represents the hard work and dedication of the men and women of our department who serve their community with distinction each day," Miami-Dade Police Deputy Director Alfredo Ramirez said. "I am proud and grateful of our Professional Compliance Bureau's investigative efforts to expose this breach of the public's trust and allow us to hold those involved accountable for their actions."

Verdura was arrested after the sale of the second vehicle. Bond was set at $110,000 for both men.

"Officer Verdura betrayed everything and everyone he pledged to honor when he began engaging in his alleged criminal activities," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. "I am proud of the swift action taken by the Miami-Dade Police Department to end Verdura's fraudulent activities and bring him and his associate to justice."