The New York Daily News by LISA L. COLANGELO - January 15, 2009
A pair of undercover cops were indicted Thursday for boosting their arrest figures and their paychecks by busting four innocent men on bogus cocaine charges. Henry Tavarez, 27, and Stephen Anderson, 33, surrendered on a 42-count indictment stemming from the January 2008 "buy and bust" operation in a Queens tavern, District Attorney Richard Brown said. The officers tampered with evidence to arrest four innocent men - including one who spent three days behind bars before making bail, Brown said. "Such egregious conduct not only taints the reputation of their fellow officers, but erodes public confidence and trust in the department," Brown said. "Conduct like this can never be tolerated." Maximo Colon, 24, who was wrongly arrested with his brother Jose, was at the Queens courthouse after the indictment was announced. "I want to know what's going to happen," he said. "I want justice."
The Colon brothers filed a $20 million lawsuit earlier this month against the city and the NYPD over the fake arrest. The two undercover cops were working inside the Club Delicioso on January 5, 2008 when Anderson purchased three bags of cocaine for $60 from a pair of suspects, Brown said. Anderson then slipped two of the bags to Tavarez, who claimed he purchased the cocaine from four other men inside the bar, Brown said. All six defendants were arrested; charges were dropped against the four innocent men last June. Maximo Colon was jailed for three days before he could post $2,500 bail. The rigged charges disappeared after Jose Colon went back to the bar and found a security video showing no contact between the undercover cops and the suspects, authorities said. Brown, asked about the officers' motive, said the duo "wanted to appear as if they were doing their job, and make a little extra overtime." Anderson has since retired from the NYPD, while Tavarez was placed on desk duty. Each faces up to nine years in prison for unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy, official misconduct and other charges.