Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bal Harbour police chief Tom Hunker and his department come under federal scrutiny

UPDATED at 10:00pm, Oct 30, 2012: 

-via the Miami Herald - Feds to Bal Harbour: Hand over $4 million in seized drug loot. The U.S. Justice Department shut down Bal Harbour’s celebrated federal forfeiture program and ordered the police to return more than $4 million, slapping the agency with crushing sanctions for tapping into drug money to pay for first-class flights, luxury car rentals and payments to informants across the country. Click here for details. 
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Bal Harbour Police Chief Tom Hunker, left, and Al Capone.

The Bal Harbour Police Department’s V.I.N. (Vice Intelligence Narcotics) Unit works closely with other agencies to crack down on this serious problem plaguing our country. On a yearly basis our V.I.N. unit recovers thousands of dollars in illegally obtained drug currency and conducts many investigations that most often lead to the arrests of those polluting our streets with narcotics.

In addition to the aggressive stance against drugs, our undercover officers are involved in various operations both within Bal Harbour and outside the city limits.

The funds siezed in these operations, allow BHPD to fortify the department with the best tools and technology available, at no additional cost to the tax payers, whom we are dedicated to protecting.
-Bal Harbour Police Department website
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In just one month, the village’s police helped reel in $3 million — and by the end of the year, they took more dollars from drug dealers than any police force in Florida.

While small police departments rarely venture beyond their borders, Bal Harbour’s force has become a massive cash generator, infiltrating drug organizations across the country with no connection to the coastal village.
-Miami Herald, Oct. 28, 2012


In hindsight, it appears as though the clues were hiding in plain sight on the Bal Harbour Police Department's website: "On a yearly basis our [narcotics] unit recovers thousands of dollars in illegally obtained drug currency..."

But, it turns out the money recovered was a bit more than "thousands."

The Miami Herald's Michael Sallah and Daniel Chang are reporting in a page one story in this morning's paper that Bal Harbour's police department seizes "more dollars from drug dealers than any police force in Florida."

Visit the crime stats page on the Bal Harbour PD's website and you'll learn that the tiny town - which measures about a half square mile in size - has issued almost 3,000 traffic citations and a little less than 700 parking tickets so far this year. The town's 27-man police force has also made about 40 arrests. But there's no mention of how many of those arrests were for drug-related offenses. And there's only the one hazy mention on the website of "thousands of dollars in drug currency" seized.

And perhaps that's what caught the attention of the feds.

The Herald's Sallah and Chang report that Bal Harbour's vice and narcotics unit....
...is under federal investigation for its handling of millions in seized dollars.
[...]
Federal agents are looking at the flow of money into the town — including plainclothes cops toting bags stuffed with cash on airliners and later counting it in a police trailer.

For years, the department of 27 officers, serving a village of 2,574 people, has run its forfeiture program like an ATM machine, tapping into a network of informants who led police to the cash.

And for years, the money rained on Bal Harbour: $100,000 for a 35-foot boat powered by three Mercury outboards, $108,000 for a mobile command truck equipped with satellite and flat-screen TVs, $25,463 for next generation Taser X-2s.

There was $7,000 for a police chiefs’ banquet, $45,839 for a Chevy Tahoe, $26,473 for Apple computers, $15,000 for a laser virtual firing range and $21,000 for an anti-drug beach bash

Bal Harbour's police chief, Tom Hunker, blames the investigation by the feds on "jealousy."
Sometimes we give them cases. Sometimes we don’t. If we don’t give them a big case, and we get a big hit, they get pissed. It’s competition.
Last spring, Hunker somehow beat out dozens of more qualified candidates to become one of four finalists for the job of Miami Beach's police chief.

Many Miami Beach cops were incredulous that Hunker made it as far as he did in the selection process. Some still blamed him for his role in a botched 1988 drug sting that left a much-admired Miami Beach undercover cop dead.

Other officers took to law enforcement internet message boards and wrote posts derisively labeling Hunker as "Al Capone," an allusion to his management style.

Hunker didn't get the job.

This morning one source familiar with the inner workings of Miami Beach's police department told me: "I hate to tell you that I told you so, but I told you so. Looks like Al Capone...or should I say Tommy? ...is in a heap o' trouble."

Read the complete Miami Herald investigation by clicking here.

9 comments:

  1. Random Pixels had comments long ago as to Bal Harbour Chief Tom Hunker being an 'Al Capone' Now heres the proof from the Feds. Tomal Capone appears very corrupt- how could one of the smallest police departments in the state take the most money from drug dealers? More money than Miami- Dade? More money than BSO?Jacksonville? Tampa?................ and where is all the cash? exactly how much? Looks like if the inner circle of Capones boys talk (which apprarently one is already singing like a canary), there might be some serious FEDERAL charges filed. Just keep the Dade Co State Attorneys office out of it or else they might tip off Capone- just like in ole time Chicago.

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  2. South Miami police department is next ?

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  3. Speaking of corruption, money and the Feds...

    Google: FBI Special Agent Jerome Sullivan (Division Chief -Organized Crime)

    You can't make it up folks!

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  4. Are there indictments coming?

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  5. Why does it take the Feds to come in to stop police corruption? Why has the local Dade County State Attorney allowed Tom Hunker and his crew to run amock without arresting at least the person in charge- Chief Tom Hunker? Sounds just like good ole Chicago in the Capone days when you couldnt trust anyone on the police dept or in the district attorneys office. My compliments to Federal Law Enforcement. Hunker put a scar on all honest police offciers.

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  6. Add a few years and a hairclub for men piece onto Al Capone and he will look just like Hunker!

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  7. I think Tommy will look good in an orange jumpsuit.

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  8. Scum of the earth, betraying the oath of the badge

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  9. It's funny that people blame Hunker for the death of Scotty but don't put the blame where it should be...A retired Captain who was doing coke with the men that killed Scotty and also telling them who are SIU guys were...

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