Police in Sunrise, Fla., spent years luring drug buyers into town before arresting them—and making a bundle in the process, according to an investigative report by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The operation has since been stopped, thanks to the paper's revelations, which ran last week and shed light on what the mayor complained had been an undercover operation (which he supported). The story, per the original report: Police were dangling deals before potential drug buyers hailing from as far away as Peru and Canada; when buyers arrived, cops would make deals with them in local restaurants like TGI Fridays before arresting them.
Then they'd confiscate millions of dollars, as well as cars and other expensive items; they've amassed some $5.8 million in forfeiture revenues in two years. Cops involved got paid huge overtime sums; since 2010, a dozen police all together scored $1.2 million. Informants raked in cash, too; one received $800,000, the paper reports. Local officials are divided on the issue. "We have enough drugs and criminals here. Now we are importing them?" asks a public defender who thinks police were "putting citizens at risk." A state attorney disagreed; the area is already "known as a source of drugs," he says.