BSO Deputy Illegally Searched House, North Lauderdale Mom Says

Categories: Broward News

Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Valarie Joaceus looks beat. Inside her tidy living room in North Lauderdale, the blinds drawn tight against the July sun's bite, she's slumped on a leather couch, a heavy-set, middle-aged mom overloaded with worry. Joaceus' two sons -- 26-year-old Jonathan and 25-year-old Gregory -- have had their trouble with police. The oldest even spent two years in prison on a drug charge. But the latest conflict has crushed Joaceus' patience. Because this time, she says, it's a Broward Sheriff Office deputy who broke the law.

"That day was just the icing on the cake," she says. "What the hell was that man doing in my house?"

The trouble started around 1 p.m. last December 10. Joaceus was at work at Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts on Sample Road when her husband, an accountant, called. A neighbor had phoned him to say a police officer was inside their house, and he asked her to go investigate.

When Joaceus pulled onto SW 79th Terrace, she saw an unmarked BSO Charger sitting in front of the modest sherbet-colored home the family had occupied for 15 years. Deputy Brian Dodge was standing near his vehicle. Joaceus noticed he was holding her son's house key.

Joaceus says she identified herself as the owner of the house and asked Dodge what was going on. Her son had just been arrested, the deputy explained.

Around 12:30 that day, Dodge had pulled over a green Volkswagen on nearby Southgate Boulevard after watching the car blow through a stop sign. The cabin reeked of weed, Dodge's arrest report later stated. The driver, Carlos Edouard, and a passenger, Jonathan Joaceus, both appeared to have green, leafy crumbs around their mouths; they eventually both admitted to eating marijuana, and Dodge charged both with tampering/destroying physical evidence. The deputy also found five cocaine rocks in Edouard's center console.

But the report does not include anything about what the deputy told Joaceus happened next: Jonathan supposedly gave Dodge his house keys, allowing the deputy free reign to drive over and search for drugs inside. The cop admitted he had no warrant, Joaceus says.

"Did you find anything?" Joaceus sarcastically asked. "No," the officer responded. Joaceus says Dodge asked to go back inside the house with her, but she declined. Later, when she bailed her son out of jail, Jonathan claimed he didn't give the keys to the deputy but that Dodge took them.

Jonathan had already been arrested on multiple occasions -- for possession of cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, meth, and possession with intent to sell cocaine -- and he's still facing the tampering charge. But Joaceus says her son is trying to straighten himself out. "We're a good family," she says. "I don't like my sons being in trouble."

Tragically, Gregory died of a heart attack earlier this year. After grieving, Joaceus decided to file a complaint in May with BSO about the warrantless search. "If we didn't have the neighbor who saw him," she says, "we would have never known he was in our house."

BSO confirms that it's looking into the situation. "At the moment, we are conducting a preliminary investigative inquiry," BSO's Keyla Concepción tells New Times, "which basically means we're looking into a complaint."

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icculus17 topcommenter

7 months later, still "investigating"...


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I am a resident of North Lauderdale, and live very close to this particular area.  It is probably one of the worst part of the area, run by a bunch of people involved in illegal activities. Both her sons have been arrested, both her sons are the reason why  I am afraid to walk with my 8 month old son and dog in the area. Let's stop with the articles painting the police as horrible people, I have met only great police in our area.  Let's point fingers at the parents, lets point fingers at the Mayor's administration who refuses to admit there is a serious problem.  I am moving to Coral Springs because I can't afford to take the chance raising my son in an area that is now more of a ghetto than a modest family home.

I suggest writing an article about the real issues in the area-horrible schools, understaffed police force, Mayor who has been elected for too long and lack of aid to the new wave of immigrants who are calling North Lauderdale home. 

This morning a woman was beat by her husband and running in the streets. I watched the police deal with her, andd they were fantastic with her. Even when she was calling her husband to tell him to run because they were coming to the house. Lets write an article about the lack of help for woman in the area who are victims of abuse.

frankd4 topcommenter

...........................whenever POLICE take the law and pervert it we are one step towards a GESTAPO

not ONLY did this officer know he did something very WRONG - he LIED about it

that is very very dangerous and maybe moving to Coral Springs isn't far enough away as this pervasive perversion of the LAW among LEOs in Broward County is a daily and routine occurance

would YOU like someone to falsely ARRREST YOU on someone elses say so WITHOUT DUE PROCESS ?


@Nikki would u be saying all of that if that was ur house they went n searched without a warrant,,,


@Nikki Property being invaded by overstepping Police could be your problem next if you let them get away with doing it to your neighbor.

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