A long, promising career in law enforcement has been cut short for an ex-Miami Springs officer who agreed to act as an escort during a drug deal.
Sgt. Andres Quintanilla blamed his pride and ego when going before a U.S. District judge for sentencing in Miami on Thursday.
According to the federal complaint, a confidential FBI source said he told Quintanilla last September that he was a drug trafficker. Instead of arresting the source, Quintanilla “offered to help the informant’s drug trafficking business,” according to the Miami Herald.
Quintanilla reportedly accepted $3,500 in bribe payments from the source. Quintanilla was arrested in May by the FBI and later pleaded guilty to one count of “attempting to affect commerce by extortion under color of law.”
He agreed to act as an escort during an alleged cocaine deal, according to the federal complaint. Apparently Quintanilla chose a ‘safe location’ in Miami Springs where the source could exchange 10 kilograms of cocaine for $250,000.
After the supposed deal took place, Quintanilla followed the source in his Miami Springs marked police vehicle. They arrived at an express package service center, where Quintanilla believed the source would ship the $250,000 of drug proceeds to New York, the complaint said.
Prior to that, Quintanilla used a law enforcement database to provide the source with the names of three Miami-Dade police officers and a purported drug dealer, as well as the location of an undercover police narcotics officer.
Quintanilla was “first place on the lieutenant’s promotional list” at the time of his arrest, according to the article. He was on track to retire in six years and collect a life-long pension before all this happened.
In court, Quintanilla read a statement for about 20 minutes before bursting into tears. “I’ve lost everything I’ve worked for,” he said at the sentencing hearing.
Dozens of friends, family members and police officers wrote character letters on Quintanilla’s behalf– one of them saying, “This is a good man who did a bad thing.”
The court could have imposed “a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 20 years.” Quintanilla’s attorney was pushing for 57 months. But instead, he will serve nine years in prison and pay a fine of $5,000.