Police: Florida man's text to drug customer went to cop instead

By Greg Pallone, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 5:50 PM EDT

Talk about a wrong number: A suspected drug dealer texted someone he thought was a potential buyer, but it was actually a police officer, detectives say.

  • West Melbourne officer says he got a text with a drug sale offer
  • Suspected drug dealer meant to text someone named Jen
  • Hasan Burke awaiting trial on drug charges

"In my time in this career, I've never had that happen," West Melbourne Police Det. Harvey Whitney III said.

The 20-year law enforcement veteran said the text came through on his personal phone this past weekend.

"The text said, 'Jen, let me know any —' and it used little emojis for trees," Whitney said. "So I looked at it and said, 'Well, this is interesting.'"

On the other end, someone thought they were texting "Jen's phone," asking whether she wanted to buy marijuana.

Whitney, a former narcotics officer, found himself acting undercover and kept the conversation going.

"The response was, 'How much; we can meet. I can bring it to you right now,'" he described.

Text messages show the exchange, police said: The person asked, "U got wheels?" and "U got a scale?"

The detective agreed to meet and pay $50, and the texter gave an address, saying the person would be there walking a dog.

The meetup location was Cutlass Street in Palm Bay. But instead of a girl named Jen, a Palm Bay police officer showed up.

"And within seconds after that, the suspect was in custody," Whitney said.

Police said the person on the other end of the wayward text messages was 20-year-old Hasan Burke. They said he had 16 grams of pot and a little baggie on him when he was arrested.

"They call it dope for a reason," Whitney said with a smile. "It wasn't that guy's best choice, obviously."

Burke has bonded out of jail and is awaiting trial on drug charges.