HOLLYWOOD — A Broward Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with drug possession after allegedly buying steroids in a restaurant parking lot. Hollywood detectives arrested David Agosto, a nine-year veteran of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, who earns a $59,498 annual salary. He is a cross-certified road deputy and detention deputy currently assigned to the Corrections Department.
Detectives with the Hollywood police department’s Street Crimes division arrested Agosto and another man, David Kader, 33, on Aug. 5. The complaint affidavit alleges Kader was the dealer and Agosto the customer.
Kader is charged with one count of drug possession with intent to sell.
South Florida Times has confirmed the arrests were made after detectives conducted surveillance of the men engaging in what appeared to be a drug transaction. The alleged drug deal occurred in the parking lot of the IHOP restaurant at 2754 Hollywood Blvd. around 10 p.m.
After the alleged deal was completed, officers in unmarked cars moved in and approached the men’s vehicles. Steroids, a handgun, and an AK-47 assault rifle were confiscated from Kader’s vehicle, according to the police report.
Hypodermic needles and $2,821 in cash were also seized. Numerous jars of a liquid substance labeled “testosterone” and dozens of white bottles containing more than 20,000 orange pills were discovered inside the trunk.
According to the report, the orange pills turned out to be Winstrol, an anabolic steroid also known as Stanozolol. It is commonly used in humans and animals to increase muscle growth and stimulate appetite, among other things. The drug is also used by bodybuilders to increase their size.
Detective Mark Alford said after he made contact with Agosto, he asked for his identification card.
“Agosto then handed me a Broward County Sheriff’s Office correctional deputy ID card,” Alford wrote in his report. “Upon further conversation, he advised me he purchased some pills from Kader. I retrieved a white plastic bottle from Agosto’s front right pocket containing 100 orange pills with markings SM on one side and a score line on the other side.”
Alford also wrote that he retrieved a BSO uniform, along with a deputy’s star and a handgun from Agosto’s car.
Police took both men into custody and placed them inside the same vehicle to be transported to the Hollywood police department and secretly recorded their conversation. Those recordings have not been released.
BSO – which also runs the county’s jail system — has been contending with steroid use by its employees and has implemented policies banning the practice. The 5,000-plus employee department first began addressing the issue following a raid on a Deerfield Beach pharmaceutical firm by federal agents in 2005.
The company was accused of illegally distributing steroids and its operators have since been convicted of those crimes. The items confiscated in the raid included medical records of several BSO deputies listed as customers of the company.
In 2009, BSO Sgt. Lisa McElhaney, an expert in prescription drug crimes, completed a separate criminal investigation that found at least 26 deputies “likely obtained steroids through fraudulent means” from several local pharmaceutical companies.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office did not pursue those cases, but instead referred them back to BSO to address “administratively.”
The absence of charges against the deputies prompted a complaint from Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein to the Department of Justice. Finkelstein questioned whether the state attorney’s office was applying a double standard for police officers suspected of committing crimes and he requested an investigation. The Justice Department itself did not act on the complaint, suggesting the matter be taken up with the Miami office of the FBI.
In this most recent case involving Agosto, it is a different law enforcement agency that has arrested a BSO deputy and prosecutors have filed the charge against him.
“In one instance, [prosecutors] did not go forward when they had similar information about the other deputies,” said Gordon Weekes, an attorney in Finkelstein’s office. “He is not a road deputy and the distinguishing factor between this single deputy [and others] is that his arrest does not affect pending cases like the others would have.”
*Pictured Above is BSO Deputy David Agosto, left, and Donald Kader, right.