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FBI investigating missing cash from Sweetwater police evidence room


Federal authorities are investigating the disappearance of thousands of dollars in cash from a Sweetwater police evidence room, Sweetwater Mayor José M. Díaz said Tuesday.

Money is also missing from payments made to recover towed vehicles in the city following police arrests, Díaz said.

“As far as I know, it amounts to thousands of dollars,” Díaz said. “I don’t know who was responsible for that money.”

Díaz’s revelations took place at a press conference called to show off a new bicycle patrol — an attempt to erase the “shadows” that have fallen upon the city in recent months.

In August, FBI agents arrested then-Mayor Manny Maroño, together with the mayor of Miami Lakes and two lobbyists, in an undercover corruption operation.

According to a document filed Tuesday in federal court, Maroño and one of the lobbyists, Jorge Forte, plan to change their pleas from not guilty to guilty om one count of conspiring to commit fraud during a Nov. 12 hearing in Fort Lauderdale. Both face up to five years in federal prison.

Meanwhile, authorities are investigating possible links between Sweetwater officers or officials to the towing company, Southland, which operated under a verbal agreement with the city until February. Several sources have said authorities are looking into whether police officers or other officials received kickbacks in exchange for directing business to the company.

More here.