News: Ex-Beach Firefighter Gets 22 Years For Coke-Running

For his part in a conspiracy to move kilos of cocaine through Miami Beach with the help of a police officer, Henry L. Bryant will pay a heavy and lengthy price.

The ex-Miami Beach fire inspector who earlier this year was at the heart of both the code compliance bribery scandal and a separate drug trafficking scheme that branched from it will serve 22 years in prison for his crime, a federal judge ordered last Wednesday.

Bryant, Octavius Mclendon, and Miami-Dade police officer Daniel L. Mack learned their fates when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno in Miami after their convictions for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and gun possession. Moreno gave Mclendon nearly 21 years in prison and Mack 15.

“Bryant and Mack betrayed the public trust when they agreed to transport and protect what they believed to be multiple kilograms of cocaine,” commented U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “Although their conduct tarnished their badges, it did not tarnish those of the honorable men and women who serve and protect our community faithfully every day. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law.”

The trio’s crimes were extensively documented in an April 26 SunPost cover story (found here).

In December 2011, an undercover FBI agent, posing as the manager of a South Beach nightclub that had been extorted by city code compliance officers, met with Bryant. The two discussed the possibility of Bryant recruiting cops who might be able to supply protection for the transport of a shipment of coke through the city to a drop-off spot in Aventura.

Over subsequent weeks, Bryant, in recorded meetings and phone conversations, claimed he knew cops from both the county and the Miami Beach forces who would provide escort.

Among the details of the intricately-planned crime, Bryant said he intended to move the coke himself and use two separate cops and their cars to help in the transport. An unmarked Miami Beach police car would escort him while within city limits, with a county cruiser escorting him the rest of the way.

I have “four county guys” – meaning Miami-Dade police – “plus two Beach guys” – meaning Miami Beach police, Bryant told the undercover “manager” in one meeting. They’ve got county cars and “they are ready to move, they just need to know when and how,” Bryant added.

On Dec. 21, 2011, Bryant and Mclendon loaded a duffel bag stuffed with 9 kilos of what they believed coke into a Lincoln Navigator, then drove it from Club Dolce on Ocean Drive to a drop-off car in the parking lot of an Aventura Publix. The kilos were actually sham cocaine.

Weeks later, on Jan. 14, 2012, the pair moved ten kilos of sham cocaine from the nightclub to a parked Chevy Camaro in the parking lot of a Publix at Loehmann’s Fashion Island in Aventura.

Mack tailed Bryant’s car on both occasions, following in his marked police cruiser from the time Bryant left Miami Beach city limits to the time it arrived in Aventura. An FBI surveillance team, unbeknownst to Mack or Bryant, tailed them both.

The government’s affidavit notes that in the Dec. 21 run, the FBI surveillance car at one point tailed both Bryant’s Navigator and a gold sedan following behind it. The sedan followed Bryant to Miami Beach city limits. The identity of the driver of the gold sedan has not been made public.

Bryant and Mclendon were paid $25,000 by the undercover agent for their efforts.

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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