One of the country’s most prolific federal narcotics prosecutors was captured offering his business card to police to avoid being charged in a hit-and-run while his blood-alcohol level was twice over the legal limit, according to a report.
Joseph Ruddy, 59, was outside his home with his business card in hand as officers with the Tampa Police Department arrived to investigate a July 4 crash.
Appearing heavily intoxicated in footage obtained by the Associated Press, Ruddy is seen hunched over his pickup truck when police arrive.
He waved his card in the direction of the approaching officers as he attempted to stand up straight.
“What are you trying to hand me?” the officer asked.
“You realize when they pull my body-worn camera footage and they see this, this is going to go really bad.”
A witness told police Ruddy didn’t attempt to “hit the break” when he crashed, according to the outlet.
“He just kept going and he was swerving all the way up the road. I’m like, ‘No, he’s going to hurt somebody.’ So I just followed him until I got the tag number and just called and reported it,” the witness said.
The footage shows Ruddy admitting he fled from the hit-and-run scene.
“You hit a vehicle and you ran. You ran because you’re drunk. You probably didn’t realize you hit the vehicle,” the officer said to which Ruddy seemingly nodded his head in agreement, briefly pausing before saying “Yes.”
“Why didn’t you stop?” the officer asked.
“I didn’t realize it was that serious,” the prosecutor slurred in response.
He was twice over the legal limit, having a blood-alcohol level registering at 0.17%.
Ruddy was charged with driving under the influence with property damage and was not charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
He’s accused of sideswiping an SUV with the driver inside waiting to turn at a red light, clipping a side mirror, and tearing off another piece of the vehicle, which was found lodged in the fender of Ruddy’s pickup truck.
Over two months removed from the incident, Ruddy had represented the United States in court as recently as last week despite being charged with a DUI.
Ruddy was in court last Friday during a plea deal in the case of a Brazilian man detained by the US Coast Guard with more than 3.3 tons of cocaine aboard a sailboat off Guinea in West Africa.
The Justice Department confirmed to the outlet on Wednesday that the prosecutor had been pulled off three pending criminal cases and removed from his supervisory role at the US Attorney’s Office in Tampa.
Ruddy is known as one of the creators of Operation Panama Express (PANEX), which is a task force launched in 2000 with agents from the FBI, DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and service members of the US Coast Gaurd to target cocaine smuggling by way of the sea.
More than 90% of US Coast Guard drug interdictions at sea can be attributed to intelligence provided by PANEX, according to the report.
A bulk of the 888 metric tons of cocaine destroyed by the branch and the 2,776 suspected smugglers detained between 2018 and 2022 had most of the cases handled by Ruddy and his colleagues in Tampa.
Ruddy is next due to appear in court in his case on Sept. 27.
With Post wires.
The post Federal drug prosecutor offered cops business card in DUI crash arrest: body cam footage appeared first on New York Post.