Tampa Police Sgt. Ray Fernandez
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor says Officer Jeanette Hevel was arrested for stealing IRS money orders from the police evidence room.
Tampa, Florida -- The Tampa police officer at the center of attorney Phil Campbell's DUI arrest during the MJ vs. Bubba the Love Sponge trial has reportedly been fired.
Sgt. Ray Fernandez was one of two officers fired by the department on Friday afternoon. The second officer, Jeanette Hevel, was fired and arrested on unrelated charges.
"One broke the law and the other broke the code of conduct by conducting himself without professionalism or integrity," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said in a press conference on Friday. "Neither deserves to serve in this agency that represents the very best in law enforcement."
On the night of January 23, Phil Campbell was arrested for DUI at the height of the shock jock defamation trial between Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and Campbell's client, Todd "MJ" Schnitt.
Campbell claimed he was set-up when a phone tip was made to Sgt. Fernandez, who has personal ties
to the Diaco law firm - Campbell's opposing counsel during the shock
Campbell's DUI charge has since been dropped. The FBI is now investigating the case, to determine whether Sgt. Fernandez abused his legal authority, and if so, if he manipulated the legal process and violated Campbell's civil rights.
To date, Fernandez has not been charged with any crimes.
Chief Castor also announced the dismissal and arrest of Officer Jeanette Hevel.
Late last year, Hevel allegedly took four IRS money orders that had been seized during an arrest from the Tampa police evidence room. Castor says Hevel then cashed two and deposited the other two in her personal checking account. The four money orders added up to $1,900.
Earlier this week, the Civil Recovery Division of the IRS contacted Tampa Police, trying to locate the money orders. That was when police discovered the evidence room thefts and after an investigation, determined Hevel was the culprit.
She was charged Friday with one count of grand theft in the third degree and jailed on $2,000 bond.
"These cases are very, very rare exceptions and should not reflect negatively on all those men and women that go out and lay their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve our community," Chief Castor said.
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