A former Miami police sergeant was recently convicted by a federal jury
on several charges, including drug conspiracy and civil rights violations.
According to an FBI press release dated January 18, 2013, Raul Iglesias
of Miami was convicted on eight counts, including conspiracy to possess
cocaine, possession with intent to distribute, obstruction of justice
and other charges. Earlier in January, the Miami Herald reported that
Iglesias had testified in his own defense at trial, denying allegations
that he had planted drugs on a suspect and directed detectives to pay
a confidential informant in cocaine. Iglesias was also accused of stealing
drugs and money from street dealers and using the contraband to reward
informants. Sentencing is scheduled for March 28, 2013.
What is conspiracy?
The crime of conspiracy occurs when a group of two or more people work
together to break the law. Conspiracy itself is not a free-standing criminal
offense, but instead must be attached to a separate crime such as drug
trafficking, fraud, money laundering or other crimes.
When any individual involved in a conspiracy follows through on the plan
and commits a crime, the other members can be charged as well - even if
they were not directly involved in the criminal act itself. This allows
prosecutors to target everyone who participates in planning a crime in
addition to the person who carries it out. Under most circumstances, a
conspiracy offense may be punishable in the same manner as the underlying offense.
Conspiracy laws benefit prosecutors
Conspiracy law is largely based on the theory that groups of people acting together
pose a greater criminal threat than isolated individuals, and, to deal
with this threat, the State and Federal governments in our country have
made the crime of conspiracy its own criminal offense, which may be charged
even if the underlying crime, such as drug trafficking never occurred.
In addition, conspiracy laws make it more difficult for people to shield
themselves from prosecution by hiring or recruiting others to commit criminal
acts for them. Thus, for instance, if two individuals plan a murder, the
law of conspiracy allows both to be charged with the crime regardless
of who actually pulled the trigger and even if the murder never occurred.
Because of its unique nature, conspiracy is subject to different rules
than other crimes during prosecution. For example, because conspiracy
is an ongoing crime rather than a single, isolated event, the statute
of limitations does not begin to run until the last act has been performed
to carry out the conspiracy. In addition, people accused of conspiracy
are frequently tried together, and unlike when there is no such conspiracy,
their statements can often be used as evidence against one another at
trial. In Federal court more than State court, people are often charged
with, and convicted of conspiracy even if the crime itself was never carried out.
When facing charges for conspiracy or other criminal activity in Florida,
it is essential to seek help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney
who understands the complexities of the legal system and will work tirelessly
to provide a vigorous defense.