Former Broward sheriff’s deputy, two others sentenced in drug scheme
(SUN SENTINAL) A former Broward sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday for agreeing to guard a shipment of 50 kilograms of cocaine.
In reality, the “smugglers” were undercover FBI agents posing as mobsters and a drug distributor.
Along with Frankel, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach sentenced Robert Baccari to seven years and Christopher Provenzano to six years for their roles in the attempted drug smuggling operation.
All three pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of cocaine.
Richard Tauber, a veteran Broward sheriff’s deputy and the group’s apparent ringleader, is set to be sentenced May 15. Baccari, Provenzano and Tauber all live inBoca Raton.
Tauber, a former Marine who went by “Wingnut,” and Frankel, a law enforcement recruit with the nickname “Tattoo,” worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Deerfield Beach.
Authorities arrested the men last year following a 16-month investigation. According to court records, Tauber was paid $25,000 to help smuggle cocaine, diamonds and Krugerrand gold coins.
Tauber recruited friends Baccari and Provenzano, who together received roughly $23,000. Frankel was brought into the circle to act as a lookout during a supposed cocaine delivery.
After his arrest, Tauber turned on Frankel and wore a wire to record incriminating conversations.
In court papers, Frankel’s attorneys asked for leniency, describing the deputy as a minor participant in the crime led astray by his desire to provide financially for his wife and two daughters.