“Unhealthy Boys four Life.” Cops lived the St John way of life, clandestinely sheltered cocaine hundreds, Feds say
On social media, St John Dade cops Roderick Flowers and Keith Edwards cleaned their badges, put on thick gold jewelry and smoked cigars.
They also liked Bad Boys, the St John police action film franchise. Flowers even used the name “Mike Lowrey,” the character of actor Will Smith, on Instagram. Around last Halloween, Edwards posted a photo of the two of them dressed like the fictional detectives with the caption, “We’re going together. We die together. Bad Boys 4 Life. “
Federal authorities say they could go to jail together now.
Flowers and Edwards are due to appear in federal court Friday, the day after authorities arrested the two on charges of agreeing to act as the muscle for a cocaine trafficking operation set up by undercover agents. Also charged: A St John money laundering suspect named Manuel Carlos Hernandez, who boasted of flowers, was on his payroll, according to court records.
According to a criminal complaint, the case was brought with the help of a confidential source impersonating a Mexican cartel member, arranging the international money laundering agreement with Hernandez, and calling in the two police officers to help transport a shipment of “white girls” – code word – for cocaine packages Homestead to Aventura.
“Welcome to the Sinaloa Cartel,” the source told officials, who laughed and drove away after the September 16 transportation operation in St John. The complaint was lifted late Thursday evening.
Flowers and Edwards are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine. The cocaine was indeed a fake, and the entire operation was carefully coordinated by agents, according to court records.
The charges were the culmination of a six month investigation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
Hernandez is charged with conspiracy and money laundering. He is charged with another man, Trevanti McLeod, and Durojaiye Obafemi Monsuru Lawal, who, according to court documents, described himself as “involved in money laundering and politically affiliated in Nigeria”.
Flowers and Edwards were both members of the St John-Dade Priority Response Team, a unit established to respond to major incidents after the Parkland School massacre in 2018.
Flowers, 30, came from a law enforcement family. His sister is a police officer in Georgia. His father is Raleigh Flowers, the Bal Harbor police chief and a former high-ranking Hialeah officer.
Edwards is a former soldier and father of three children.
DEA agents and the confidential source first focused on Hernandez, who ran Hernandez Investments in Davie. As the months passed, Hernandez bragged about the numerous clients he’d laundered money for, his fat bank account, and plans to open a barber shop and car wash to launder dirty money.
During the summer, the source arranged on secret audio and video recordings a number of drug money laundering deals with Hernandez, Lawal and McLeod.
In July, Hernandez told the source that a Russian strip club owner was trying to launder dirty money, the complaint said. He later told the source that “he made some calls to law enforcement agencies” investigating the Russians and learned that they were informants, the complaint said.
The following month, the source asked if Hernandez’s secret cop source could keep a license plate for someone who allegedly owed him money. DEA agents later learned that the police officer who ran the day through a law enforcement database was Flowers.
Hernandez later told the source that Flowers and an unnamed cop cousin were “on his payroll” acting as “collateral for money laundering activities,” the complaint said.
The source met Flowers in Hernandez’s office on September 9. The source asked if he was actually a police officer. “Yeah, I don’t look like that, do I?” Flowers supposedly answered.
The source eventually offered to rent flowers to protect a shipment of cocaine that was to be transported from a Homestead motel to a location in Aventura. Flowers eagerly explained his safety skills and even stated that he and Edwards both had SWAT training.
“Flowers showed with his hands that he was trained to shoot in the stomach and chest area,” said the complaint. “He stated that if it was a headshot, it would be from the ears near the forehead.”
The source paid Flowers $ 5,000 upfront, according to the DEA. Edwards later met the source in person and also boasted of his military-grade security training. He also referred to himself as a “cop’s cop”, according to the complaint.
The operation contract took place smoothly on September 16. Flowers and Edwards accompanied the transport in separate cars from a hotel in Homestead to one in Aventura, according to DEA.