Three BSO deputies are facing criminal charges after allegedly accepting cash from the Pink Pony Pompano in 2014 for allowing the strip club to remain open for longer hours and covering up illegal drug use at the establishment. Deputies Reginald Arteta, Alberto Ferreras, and Troy Wilkins turned themselves in on Wednesday and were each booked at BSO's Main Jail on one count of unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior and one count of official misconduct.
The three cops were paid by the strip club to essentially be security detail for the gentlemen's club while in BSO uniform, according to the arrest forms. They used their influence as cops, as well as their police-issued equipment, to allow Pink Pony to stay open longer than they're allowed by law and failed to report or cooperate in reporting unlawful activity. The three deputies also allegedly used their BSO-issued two-way radios to conduct surveillance for the strip club as they worked security detail.
Wilkins, in particular, is accused of trying to sway a witness from testifying in an official investigation. Between August and September of 2014, Wilkins allegedly got paid to not report or fill out official paperwork on certain activities.
Ferreras was paid to run security detail outside the club and was also involved in obstructing a witness from testifying in a BSO investigation.
Wilkins and Ferreras are facing charges of tampering with a witness and the unlawful use of a two-way communications device.
By law, police are required to radio in where they're working. The BSO deputies failed to do so while working the Pink Pony.
According to the arrest form, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco contacted BSO about the deputies, letting officials know that the three had been working security detail at the Pink Pony Pompano and letting the joint remain open longer than its license permitted. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Corruption Unit was dispatched to investigate the alleged misconduct.
Investigators were able to get statements from witnesses to determine that Wilkins, 49, Arteta, 29, and Ferreras, 31, were paid in cash for their security work. The deputies were also paid a cash bonus whenever they allowed the club to stay open past 2 a.m.
“I have said before that no one is above the law, and there are consequences when deputies cross the line," Sheriff Scott Israel said in a statement. "These arrests show BSO is committed to holding employees to the highest standards and proactively addressing misconduct whenever it is discovered.”
Arteta, Ferreras, and Wilkins were suspended without pay, and their Internal Affairs cases remain open.
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According to the arrest reports, the deputies worked at the strip club from August 5, 2014, to September 2, 2014.