N.C. Police Officer Charged After Allegedly Dealing Cocaine in Uniform from His Patrol Car

Keven Rodriguez, 33, was arrested after allegedly handing over 56 grams of cocaine to a confidential informant in exchange for $2,600 in cash

Keven Rodriguez
Keven Rodriguez. Photo: Raleigh Police Department

A police officer in Raleigh, N.C., is under arrest after authorities allege he was caught dealing cocaine from his marked patrol car while on duty and wearing his uniform.

"This complaint alleges that an on-duty Raleigh Police Department officer, in his police cruiser, with his gun, dealt drugs," Michael Easley, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said at a news conference Thursday.

"When one who wears the badge breaks the law, it breaches the public trust," Easley said. "This alleged crime is a serious breach of public trust."

On Wednesday, the officer, 33-year-old Keven Rodriguez, was arrested on charges of distributing cocaine and possession of a firearm "in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime," Easley's office said in a news release.

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An investigation began last November after Raleigh police and agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration were tipped by two confidential sources that Rodriguez allegedly was distributing controlled substances, and that he was a cop, Easley said.

As part of "an immediate investigation," a confidential source arranged to meet Rodriguez on Jan. 24. Rodriguez, in uniform, allegedly arrived in his marked Raleigh police patrol car and with his duty firearm, Easley said.

The source then gave Rodriguez $2,600 in cash, and Rodriguez allegedly turned over 56 grams of cocaine, according to the criminal complaint.

He was charged with distribution of a quantity of cocaine, and possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.

If convicted of the two counts, Rodriguez, who holds the rank of field operations division officer, faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison.

Rodriguez was placed on leave without pay after his arrest, and is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, said Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson, reports the News & Observer.

"The arrest of Mr. Rodriguez is a disappointment to me, the Raleigh police department, and the citizens and residents of our community," Patterson said. "Although disheartening, I want to ensure transparency to maintain public trust."

Authorities would not say whether Rodriguez remained in federal custody, and an attorney who might speak on his behalf was not identified.

Rodriguez has been employed by the Raleigh Police Department since July 2018.

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