After an investigation revealed that he was involved in an attempt to frame an innocent man for firing a Florida deputy, he was arrested.
Niko Irizarry (25), a former deputy for the Lee County Sheriff's Office, was charged with felony official misconduct. Sheriff Carmine Marceno stated that he was fired the same day he was placed on leave.
According to Friday's news conference, Irizarry was charged with narcotics offenses after he took a man into his custody Dec. 16.
Internal affairs received a complaint in January that led to the sheriff's office believing that the arrest was illegal. Marceno stated that Charles Custodio, Scott Snider and Irizarry conspired to arrest the victim. Custodio had a "personal hatred" for him.
According to the sheriff, Custodio allegedly bought a lot of drugs and gave them Snider. Snider then claimed to be a client in real estate and met the victim who was a real-estate broker.
Custodio reached out to Irizarry after Snider had planted the drugs in the victim’s car. He also provided the victim's address so that the deputy could make an arrest, the sheriff stated.
Marceno stated that the task force had conducted an extensive investigation and found evidence of a plot to plant illegal drugs in victim's car. Marceno also said that they arranged for a traffic stop on the vehicle. "The task force used state-of the-art technology to uncover the true identities of those involved in order to access fake email accounts and text messages.
Custodio and Irizarry were both arrested in Lee County, while Snider was taken into custody in Texas.
According to the sheriff, Custodio as well Snider were each charged with trafficking fentanyl and possession of a controlled drug.
For either man, it was not possible to find information about an attorney.
The union representing the sheriff's offices declined to comment.
Marceno stated that Irizarry joined his office in 2018, but left to work for another agency. He will return to the office in 2020. There were no previous disciplinary actions against him at the Lee County Sheriff's Office.