Ex-officer makes plea deal in drug case
BY DAVID OVALLE
An outspoken former Miami police sergeant accused of selling small amounts of steroids and an erectile dysfunction drug has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possessing a drug.
Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped felony charges against Francisco Pichel, who agreed as part of the plea deal to give up his Florida police certification.
He was set to retire anyway, said his attorney, Gregory Denaro. No conviction will appear on his record.
Pichel was confident he would have been acquitted but accepted the plea because ''it was basically a dismissal of the case,'' Denaro said.
He was charged with the unlawful use of a communications device and possession with the intent to sell 400 milligrams of liquid testosterone, and three pills of Cialis.
Miami Maj. George Cadavid, who heads internal affairs, said today that the plea deal was acceptable.
''Our biggest factor was that he give up his certification, and he agreed to do that,'' Cadavid said.
The former officer will also donate ,500 to Kristi House, an organization that provides services to child victims of sexual abuse.
Authorities said the arrest came after someone tipped off police in March that Pichel was dealing in illegal drugs.
Internal affairs detectives later wired an informant and caught on video and audio what appeared to be Pichel arranging and selling two bottles of testosterone and three Cialis pills for 40.
A self-described whister-blower, Pichel was fired in 2003 after allegedly leaking sensitive information about a serial rape case investigation to The Miami Herald. He was later reinstated after several city commissioners complained.
In October 2001, he lost a whistle-blower's lawsuit against the city and former Chief William O'Brien that claimed Pichel was targeted for retaliation after taking on a ''corrupt and violent'' gang of officers.
Denaro today criticized Pichel's arrest, saying the investigation was full of discrepancies and investigators had vendettas. Cadavid dismissed those claims.
''Everything was caught on audio and video. The tapes speak for themselves,'' Cadavid said.