Police Chief Quits In Midst Of Corruption Probe
HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) _ Hialeah’s police chief took early retirement Wednesday amid an investigation by Dade County and FBI agents into corruption in this Miami suburb, a spokeswoman for the city said.
Police Chief Cecil Seay, 59, gave his retirement application to Mayor Raul Martinez who ″regrettably accepted″ it, said Ana Gloria Rivas-Vazquez, communications coordinator for the city.
Five police officers, including Seay, and two members of City Council are under investigation in connection with cocaine trafficking, murder plots and bribery plans that included public officials in Hialeah, according to The Miami Herald.
Seay said earlier this week that he was aware he was being investigated along with several other officers in his department.
The chief has an unlisted home phone number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But a letter he included with his retirement application seemed to blame the ongoing corruption investigation for his early retirement.
″Due to recent events which have caused me both personal and professional embarrassment,″ Seay wrote, ″I have concluded that it is in the best interest of the Hialeah Police Department to tender my application for retirement from the positon of chief of police.″
Seay, who has been with the department for 29 years, will use earned vacation time and continue drawing a salary until his retirement becomes effective April 11, Ms. Rivas-Vazquez said.
The chief’s resignation is apparently connected to businessman Alberto San Pedro, described as ″the corruptor of Hialeah″ by the Herald, who was arrested Sunday on a murder conspiracy charge. That came 17 days after San Pedro, 36, was arrested on six counts of bribery and released on bond.
San Pedro, who was denied bond on the latest charges, was charged after police using an electronic bugging device said they overheard murder plans being made in his home. San Pedro faces another bond hearing Thursday.
San Pedro allegedly had close connections with some of the police officers and councilmen under investigation.
The Herald has reported that a federal grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing testimony next month about corruption in Dade County’s second largest city.