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A former Miami Police officer arrested along with two other cops in a federal drug trafficking conspiracy case will spend the next 15 and a half years behind bars.
Schonton Harris was given the sentence by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, prosecutors announced Wednesday. Harris had pled guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it 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 in a statement. “We will not allow those who abuse their positions of trust to tarnish the reputation of the City of Miami Police Department and those dedicated officers who, every day, serve the City of Miami residents. Those who use their badge to break the law and enrich themselves will be brought to justice.”
Harris, James Archibald, and Kelvin Harris were charged in October after prosecutors said they participated in a scheme to protect people that they believed were money launderers and drug traffickers in exchange for cash, giving them protection and transportation. The traffickers were undercover FBI employees.
Schonton Harris also used and dealt drugs and was able to rig the drug testing system so she would be able to give a clear sample if she was asked by the department, authorities said. She also sold a City of Miami Police uniform and badge to an undercover agent for $1,500, believing the uniform would be used by a hitman to kill someone for a drug trafficker, prosecutors said.
In exchange for providing police protection, Schonton Harris received $17,000, Kelvin Harris received $10,000, and Archibald received $6,500, prosecutors said.
Schonton Harris had been with the department since January of 1999. Kelvin Harris had been with the department since January 1992. Archibald was hired in April 2016.