Law enforcement officers in a city outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida have been conducting “reverse sting” operations to lure potential cocaine buyers, and funneling the proceeds into the police department budget, ABC News reports.
The Sunrise, Florida police department has brought in millions of dollars through these sting operations, the article notes.
Undercover police detectives pretending to be cocaine dealers attract potential cocaine buyers from around the country. When deals are successful, informants can receive large payouts. Police seize cash and non-monetary assets including cars.
Money from the operation has been used to buy new equipment and to pay officers overtime.
The operation was first reported by the Sun Sentinel after conducting a six-month investigation. The newspaper reported this weekend the operation has been shut down as a result of the investigation. Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan said the paper exposed police tactics and strategy and compromised the work.
“The police are not actually finding these drug dealers on their own but they rely on paid and unpaid informants to tell them about people that might be looking for cocaine, and it became obvious to us that the reason they are doing this is because of the money,” Megan O’Matz, one of the reporters who broke the story, told ABC News.