Florida deputy who allegedly framed innocent man fired, arrested
A Florida deputy was fired and arrested after allegedly attempting to frame an innocent man on narcotics charges.
Niko Irizarry, 25, who was formerly employed by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested and charged with felony official misconduct on Friday, according to NBC News.
He was fired from the police department that same day, Sheriff Carmine Marceno told the news outlet.
Irizarry’s departure came after he had been placed on leave for his involvement in the arrest of a man on narcotics charges on Dec. 16. An investigation found that he allegedly worked along with two others, Charles Custodio and Scott Snider, to arrest the man because Custodio “had a personal hatred” for him, Marceno said, according to NBC.
In order to carry out the arrest, Custodio allegedly secured a large number of drugs and then had Snider meet up with the man to plant the drugs in his car, according to the news outlet.
Custodio then allegedly contacted Irizarry so that the then-deputy could make the arrest, NBC reported.
The sheriff’s office’s internal affairs division in early January received a complaint suggesting the December arrest had been unlawful, according to NBC.
“The task force conducted a thorough investigation revealing an elaborate conspiracy to plant illegal drugs in the victim’s vehicle and arrange for a traffic stop on that vehicle after the drugs were planted,” Marceno said, according to the news outlet. “The task force utilized state-of-the-art technology … to reveal the true names of those involved to identify and access bogus email accounts and text messages.”
Both Custodio and Snider were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy and trafficking in fentanyl, the sheriff said, according to NBC.
Irizarry, who was hired by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 2018, did not have any previous disciplinary actions with the office, NBC reported.