Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man tried to bribe Hernando deputy, report says

RIDGE MANOR — The deputy pulled two rolls of cash out of the driver's pocket. One totaled $80, and the other $176. The man had another $300 in his wallet.

As the deputy counted the cash just after 3 a.m. Friday, authorities say, the man made him offer: Let me go and you can keep the money.

Minutes earlier, Hernando sheriff's Deputy William Cooper had arrived at a traffic stop. Another deputy had just pulled over the man, who investigators say was driving erratically on Interstate 75, just north of Cortez Boulevard.

The man, a report said, gave Cooper what he called an "international driver's license" with the name Juan Pineda. The man insisted it was a valid ID card. The deputy insisted it was not.

When Cooper asked for another form of identification, authorities say, the man handed him a Mexican driver's license with the same name.

The deputy suspected the man might be intoxicated, so he asked him to step out of his white Cadillac Escalade. When authorities say he failed field sobriety tests, the deputy arrested the man on a charge of DUI and escorted him back to the patrol car.

Throughout the process, a report said, the suspect begged Cooper to let him go. Then, as Cooper counted the money, the man offered him the deal. Investigators say the deputy immediately put the money back in the suspect's pocket and told him that was inappropriate.

As Cooper later searched the vehicle, a report said, he found a Social Security card, again with the name Juan Pineda, and an "international passport" that matched the international driver's license. He also found a resident alien card with the same name, but with someone else's photograph and with what appeared to be an altered birth date. The Social Security card, Cooper said, also looked fake.

At the Hernando County Detention Center, investigators say, the suspect refused to take a breath test and suddenly acted as if he didn't understand English.

Soon after, Cooper contacted officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and asked that they run the suspect's fingerprints. They discovered that his name was Jorge Garcia, a 39-year-old living in Nobleton who was driving on a suspended license and previously had been charged with DUI.

An ICE agent told Cooper that Garcia was in the country illegally and that he had been deported from the United States multiple times. A report said the federal agency would order Garcia to leave the country again.

In Hernando, he faces a host of charges, including DUI, fraudulent use of personal identification and bribery.

Reach John Woodrow Cox at (352) 848-1432 or

Man tried to bribe Hernando deputy, report says 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.