FORT LAUDERDALE — Two members of the Fort Lauderdale police elite Street Crimes Unit have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of public corruption, including kidnapping, extortion, theft, making threats and false arrest.
The charges have been brought against Detectives Brian Dodge and Billy Koepke, members of the unit commonly known as the Northwest Raiders.
Fort Lauderdale police detective Matthew Moceri and Sgt. Michael Florenco were also under investigation but were not charged. The investigation was conducted by the Broward State Attorney’s Office and the FBI’s public corruption task force that includes members of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
The case stemmed from the Aug. 24 arrest of Junior Jerome, 25, of Oakland Park and Dieudson Nore, 22, of Lauderdale Lakes, who were charged with cocaine possession and delivery. While preparing to defend the two men in court, their attorney, Carter Hillstrom, uncovered discrepancies among the arrest report, witness statements and surveillance video.
Police arrested Jerome and Nore at the Red Roof Inn at 4800 North Powerline Road, Oakland Park. According to the police report, the Northwest Raiders received a tip from informants that the two men were scheduled to deliver crack cocaine at the hotel.
According to the investigation report, that tip was fabricated and the supposed informants were two people Koepke and Dodge allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint and forced to set up a drug deal. The drugs were also allegedly planted, something video from the hotel’s surveillance cameras allegedly confirmed.
The charges against Jerome and Nore were dropped and an investigation of the officers began. The probe widened to include other incidents and people they arrested.
“When we were notified of the investigation we immediately placed them on administrative leave,” Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley told South Florida Times. “We didn’t turn a blind eye. We took the appropriate action.”
Adderley said the department was dealing with the “isolated, but unfortunate incident while continuing to protect residents and serve their communities.”
Florenco and Moceri were at the scene and provided backup in the arrest of Jerome and Nore but prosecutors said they lacked evidence to bring charges against them. But Florenco and Moceri are being investigated by Internal Affairs to determine if they violated any departmental policies. The Fraternal Order of Police union is representing them. Union President Jack Lokiensky declined comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
According to documents released in the case, Koepke and Dodge are also accused of planting drugs on other innocent people and robbing them of thousands of dollars. Some of their victims had reported the alleged incidents to the FBI and Fort Lauderdale police but their complaints could not be substantiated.
The arrest report cites an incident involving husband and wife Glen and Patricia Roysden, saying they were pulled over on April 22, 2010, by Koepke and Dodge and arrested on a charge of possession of prescription drugs. The Roysdens alleged to the FBI and Fort Lauderdale police that the drugs were planted. They also alleged that roughly $5,000 of $8,700 confiscated from them was not turned in for evidence.
“He (Glen Roysden) stated that he did bring forth his complaint very soon after the arrest. He stated he contacted the FBI in Knoxville, who directed him to the Miami FBI Office,” the arrest report said. “The Miami FBI office then directed him to Ft. Lauderdale Police Internal Affairs.”
Other victims named in the report, in separate incidents, are Mark Mayer, Bonita Liston, Williams Durnan, Anthony Rodriguez, Michelle Southerland, and Phillip Rhoads.
Koepke and Dodge arrested Southerland and Rhoads on May 15, 2010, on a charge of possession of prescription drugs, even though the label on the bottle showed the drugs were prescribed to Southerland. Rhoads did not have any drugs but he was also arrested.
Southerland sent a letter to Fort Lauderdale Police complaining that $1,800 of the $4,000 Dodge and Koepke took from her was never placed into evidence.
A passenger in the vehicle at the time of the arrest told investigators that the officers threatened Rhoads and took between $3,000 and $4,000 from him.
Koepke and Dodge are out on bond and under house arrest pending the outcome of the investigation. Prosecutors say more than 100 cases the two officers were involved in were being reviewed or had already been dropped.
Photo: Brian Dodge