Real Name: Armando Garcia
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Drug-Trafficking, Conspiracy to Commit Murder
Missing Since: May 1987
Details: During the 1980s, the city of Miami faced an urban crisis. Thousands of Cuban refugees came to the city, some of them criminals. Race riots also caused serious problems. As a result, the Miami police forced doubled in size. Armando Garcia became a Miami police officer during this time. He soon became corrupt; first, he began confiscating drugs and money from people whom he arrested and kept them for himself. Garcia and several other officers did this knowing that it would be their word against the criminals. Eventually, he became involved with bogus police operations and raids of drug boats. In July of 1985, he and several other officers busted six men who were involved in distributing cocaine. During the raid, the men tried to escape by jumping into a river. Three of the men would drown while trying to escape from the officers.
When the bodies were found, investigators believed that it was triple homicide. However, they were shocked when a security guard told them that the three men had drowned while trying to flee an "official" police raid by Miami officers. Official police logs had no record of the raid. Further investigation led to the arrest of Garcia and thirty-four other officers on corruption charges. He and several other officers soon planned to kill witnesses to their corruption-related crimes.
In January of 1986, Garcia and several other officers posted bail and began their plans to kill the witnesses. However, several problems occurred with their plan. Several of the hired hit-men took the money and never attempted to kill anyone. Garcia and the other officers tried to kill the witnesses themselves, but they could never locate the witnesses. Fortunately, none of the witnesses were harmed.
Garcia and the other officers' case, however, ended in a mistrial. Despite this, police now had new charges to file against them: conspiracy to commit murder. In May of 1987, Garcia went on the run and has not been seen since. Police believe that he may now be in South America. He is married and has two young daughter. Police believe that he is with his father Toribio Garcia and an accomplice, Victor Zapata.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 12, 1994 episode. Garcia was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted and The FBI Files.
Results: Captured. Armando Garcia was arrested in January of 1994 in Cali, Colombia, along with his father Toribio, and accomplice Zapata, thanks to a tip from America's Most Wanted. All three were returned to Miami to face trial. Armando was sentenced to twenty-five years, while his father received ten years, and Zapata received thirteen years. Armando served time in federal prison and was released in 2006. Toribio and Zapata have also since been released.
- 3 Men Died in Drug Rip-Off : Miami Seeking Answers as Police Trial Unfolds
- Miami River cop fugitive surrenders
- The Miami River Cops Case
- Armando Garcia on the FBI website