Deputy arrested in undercover drug operation

Hydromorphone pills, marijuana pipe inside deputy's marked patrol car, detectives say

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BIG PINE KEY, Fla. - A deputy was arrested Saturday night after he purchased drugs from an undercover detective while on duty, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office says.

Acting on information, detectives said they arranged for a cooperating defendant (CD) to meet with deputy Jaime Miranda, 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Winn Dixie shopping center on Big Pine Key.

Miranda was on duty, and in a marked patrol car at the time of the meeting. A special agent from Homeland Security assisted in the investigation.

During the meeting, the CD handed over 10 fake Oxycodone pills. Miranda agreed to pay him for the pills on Monday, deputies said.

Shortly after the transaction took place, Detective Sgt. Al Ramirez met with Miranda, and searched his patrol car. Ramirez said he found nine and one quarter of the fake pills inside. 12 Hydromorphone pills were also found in the glove compartment, deputies said. According to investigators, a pipe was found in his pants pocket with marijuana residue in it

Investigators said Miranda admitted to ingesting part of one of the pills right after the transaction took place. He also admitted to taking the Hydromorphone pills from his aunt's residence without her permission, police said.

Miranda was charged with conspiracy to purchase narcotics, possession of synthetic narcotics, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into jail.

An internal investigation into his actions is pending. Miranda is currently suspended from his employment with the sheriff's office without pay.

Miranda was hired in October of 2008 and has been working as a road patrol deputy in the Lower Keys district.

"The integrity, honesty and professionalism of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office is crucial to our ability to perform the job of law enforcement. I will not tolerate any behavior that compromises these values," said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. "I am proud of the detectives who investigated this case. They did the right thing under difficult circumstances."

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