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North Carolina police officer sold cocaine while on duty in patrol car, prosecutor says

Keven Rodriguez, 33, who has been with the Raleigh Police Department since 2018, was charged with distributing cocaine.

A North Carolina police officer has been arrested after he sold cocaine while on duty in his patrol car and uniform, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Keven Rodriguez, 33, a field operations division officer with the Raleigh Police Department, was arrested Wednesday and charged with distributing cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a news release.

He's been with the department since July 2018, according to a criminal complaint.

In November 2021, two independent confidential sources told investigators Rodriguez was a police officer who was distributing narcotics, prompting an investigation, the document stated.

According to the complaint, a confidential source arranged to meet with Rodriguez on Jan. 24 at an abandoned car dealership.

Rodriguez arrived at the meeting in his patrol car. He was wearing his uniform and carrying his duty firearm. 

After the source handed over $2,600 in cash, Rodriguez gave them suspected drugs, the complaint stated. 

The drugs were tested and confirmed to be 56 grams of cocaine. 

The source and their vehicle were outfitted with electronic audio and video recording equipment.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years behind bars and a maximum sentence of life in prison. 

NBC News has reached out to Rodriguez’s attorney for comment.

Police Chief Estella D. Patterson condemned the officer's alleged actions during a news conference Thursday. 

“The arrest of Mr. Rodriguez is a disappointment to me, the Raleigh Police Department and the citizens and residents of our community,” she said. “I have been resolute in my words and now in my actions to hold employees accountable for any behavior that violates public trust and brings this department into disrepute.”

It was not clear Friday why Rodriguez was not arrested until Wednesday. He was placed on administrative duty prior to the arrest, according to the chief.

He remains on administrative duty without pay, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Patterson said.