Wearing his "Team Lamberti" golf shirt and manning the polling places, Benjamin Bennett looks like a kindly old man. But he's a stickler for rules.
His apparent love of order didn't stop the former cop from dealing drugs to children from his patrol car, though.
Bennett was sentenced to 15 years in prison back in the early 1980s after he was caught dealing cocaine, quaaludes, marijuana, and a host of pills out of his Tamarac police car. He also cajoled teens into committing armed robberies, according to published reports from the time. Throw charges of insurance fraud and grand theft into the mix to fill out the picture.
He was caught when he sold drugs to a female Plantation police officer posing as a Stranahan High School student and sentenced to 15 years in prison, a punishment that sounds pretty light, considering.
Former BSO detective Ron Cacciatore hadn't seen Bejamin Bennett since he arrested him back in 1982. But fate brought them back together during the weekend.
Bennett, now 63 and a free man, is a very active volunteer for the Sheriff Al Lamberti. And Cacciatore happens to be a top advisor and campaigner for Lamberti's challenger in the election, Scott Israel.
During early voting over the weekend, Bennett was manning the polling place at the north campus of Broward Community College when he got into a spat with Israel volunteers. Who gets called to the scene?
Cacciatore, of course.
When Cacciatore found out the name, he remembered the arrest. He says he kept that recollection to himself as he tried to resolve the problem. After 26 years, Bennett didn't recognize him. When Cacciatore made reference to Bennett's past, the former drug-dealing cop gave him a suggestion. According to Cacciatore, Bennett told him:
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"Call Ron Cacciatore. He can tell you that I'm a different man, now. I'm a preacher."
Cacciatore then revealed that he was, uh, Cacciatore. They ended the squabble on peaceful terms, but the Israel campaign promptly dug up old newspaper article's on Bennett's crimes and made up a flyer to hand out to voters titled "Shame On You Al Lamberti."
The kicker is that Sheriff Al Lamberti was also with BSO at the time of Bennett's arrest and should have known that one of his volunteer organizers was just about the worst kind of scum imaginable, both a crooked cop and drug pusher to children.