MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Three City of Miami police officers and two Public Service Aides have been relieved of duty following an 18-month investigation into allegations they received thousands of dollars in kickbacks from tow truck companies, CBS4 News has learned.
In addition to the three officers taken off the streets, at least four other patrolmen have been implicated in the scheme but remain on the job.
Arrests in the case are expected in the coming weeks.
According to sources familiar with the investigation, when the patrol officers would respond to accidents, they would tip off specific tow truck companies to come and take the vehicles.
The investigation – a joint effort between the Miami Police Department and the FBI – was launched following a February 2013 Miami City Commission meeting. At the time, commissioners were debating raising towing fees. However, several towing companies complained about so-called pirate tow truck drivers who were swooping in and stealing business from the city's approved list of towing companies.
Police began examining the allegations and quickly realized the so-called pirates weren't acting alone. They had inside help from patrol officers. Miami officials then contacted the FBI, which joined in the investigation.
Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz, who represents the officers relieved of duty, confirmed the investigation but declined to comment. "We're waiting to see exactly what the allegations are," he said.
for more features.