Former Raleigh Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Firearms Charges, Barred from Law Enforcement Certification

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Keven Rodriguez, a former Raleigh Police Department officer, pled guilty today to three drug trafficking and firearms charges for distributing cocaine while working on duty in his position as a Field Operations Division Officer. He also pled guilty to possession of contraband while in prison after a search of his jail cell found smoking paraphernalia. As a condition of his plea, Rodriguez has agreed to permanently surrender his law enforcement certification and will be permanently barred from any law enforcement certification in the State of North Carolina from either the Criminal Justice Commission or the Sheriffs’ Commission. Rodriguez faces at least ten years in prison when sentenced later this year.

“Keven Rodriguez violated his sworn oath to protect and serve,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “He will never again wear the badge and never again tarnish the honorable profession of policing to which countless brave men and women have committed their lives. I commend the Raleigh Police Department for taking quick action when they first learned of the allegations against this rogue officer. That enabled us to move quickly to get a criminal off the streets and behind bars where he belongs.”

“Mr. Rodriguez’s actions betrayed public trust, dishonored the oath he swore to uphold, and discredited his character,” said Raleigh Police Chief Estella D. Patterson. “I am pleased to see that justice was served and appropriately administered in this case.  I am extremely grateful for the strong relationships with our local, state, and federal partners.  Together, we will continue to remove individuals, such as Mr. Rodriquez, from our community and the law enforcement profession.”

Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division commented, “This officer violated his oath to protect and serve. His actions do not reflect the honest and hardworking men and women of law enforcement.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Rodriguez was on duty and employed as a patrol officer with the Raleigh Police Department when he sold cocaine to a confidential informant on January 24, 2022. Rodriguez sold 56 grams of cocaine while in uniform with his duty issued firearm. Rodriguez then sold cocaine to the confidential informant on two other occasions, February 2, 2022 and February 8, 2022 while still employed with the Raleigh Police Department. Rodriguez was arrested on February 23, 2022.

While awaiting trial on the drug and gun charge, Rodriguez was being held at the Sampson County Jail when his jail cell was searched and corrections officers located smoking paraphernalia in his jail cell.

Today, Rodriguez pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five hundred (500) grams or more of cocaine, distribution of a quantity of cocaine, use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and possession of contraband while in prison.

The prosecution of Rodriguez was a part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after arraignment today by Chief United States District Judge Richard E. Myers II.  The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Raleigh Police Department led the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly L. Sandling prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:22-CR-00049-M

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Updated March 13, 2023

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