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Florida councilman fell off motorcycle trying to flee traffic stop, had more than 10g of cocaine in sock: Police

Peter Joseph Filiberto (WKMG-TV screenshot)

Peter Joseph Filiberto (WKMG-TV screenshot)

A 34-year-old politician in Florida was arrested over the weekend after he was pulled over for driving erratically, then tried to flee from police and was later found to be drunk and in possession of more than 10 grams of cocaine, police say. Palm Bay City Council member Peter Joseph Filiberto was taken into custody Saturday evening at approximately 9:05 p.m. and charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, reckless driving, DUI, and operating a motorcycle without a license, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a sworn affidavit of probable cause, an officer with the City of Palm Bay Police Department on the evening of Feb. 11 spotted a 2019 Honda motorcycle speeding on Sago Palm Street. The driver – later identified as Filiberto – then ran several stop signs as he continued to drive “well above the 25mph posted speed limit,” the officer wrote.

The officer then activated his police lights and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the motorcycle. The driver initially began to accelerate until the officer turned on his siren, at which time the officer said Filiberto “looks back and began to pull to the right of the roadway.”

“As I stopped my marked patrol car and began to exit, the defendant attempted to make a u-turn to what appeared to [be an attempt to] flee from the traffic stop,” the officer wrote in the affidavit. “When doing the u-turn, the defendant lost control of the motorcycle and fell over. At this time, I approached the defendant and placed him into custody for reckless driving.”

As he spoke to Filiberto, the officer said that he could “detect an odor of alcoholic beverages” on the suspect’s breath and began to conduct a DUI investigation.  An officer read Filiberto his Miranda rights and the politician then refused to speak with police and refused to participate in a standardized field sobriety test, police wrote.

“Based on the defendant’s driving pattern, as well as odor of alcoholic beverages emitting from his breath, coupled with the defendant losing balance with his motorcycle, causing him to drop it, I believe the defendant was impaired beyond his normal facilities,” the officer wrote of his decision to charge Filiberto with DUI.

The officer also noted that Filiberto’s license had been suspended in September of 2022, he lacked a motorcycle endorsement, and he had previously refused to submit to a breath/urine/blood test in 2008.

Filiberto was then transported to the PBPD Booking Center where he was searched.

“During the search, the defendant removed his shoes which yielded a plastic container containing a white powdery substance,” the affidavit states. “Also located in the defendant’s sock was a plastic baggie containing a similar white powdery substance with white rocks. Both substances were field tested individually, resulting in positive for the presence of cocaine. The total net weight of the substances was 10.6g.”

Filiberto, who was elected in 2022, did not respond to a message from Law&Crime sent to his office.

Read the affidavit below.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.