Retired TPD detective battling cancer, family asks for help

A Tampa Police Department officer spent years undercover helping keep the Bay area safe, but now the retired detective is the one who needs help himself.

Jose Feliciano lives in Puerto Rico and is battling cancer. He's 61 years old and he spent more than two decades with TPD - many of them undercover during high-level, high-stakes drug investigations.

Now, his nephew, Officer Alex Castro wears his badge - badge 674 - with pride.  

"To wear that badge it's a constant reminder every day that I'm a representation of him as well as the Tampa Police Department," Castro said. "Him and his team are part of a big reason the drug money in Tampa started to reduce."

Fellow retired detective Anthony Tyson explained some of what Feliciano's daily work may have been like.

"When you're meeting with high-level drug traffickers on a day-to-day basis, you're doing something only a unique individual can do," Tyson said.

Any given day could've been his last. Now, years after his retirement, he finds himself dealing with another dangerous foe.  

Feliciano has been diagnosed with gastric cancer. His family said the treatment he needs is not available in Puerto Rico. 

Family and friends started an online fundraising effort to put Feliciano on a medical flight from his home in Puerto Rico, back to Tampa for treatment at Moffit Cancer Center.

That flight costs $30,000.

"He knows he's a sick man and with that, he still is able to crack a joke, make you smile," said Tyson. 

"He was a pillar of this community with the help of his squad and TPD, and now we need to be pillar for him," Castro said.

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