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Monday, May 31, 2010

NYPD Cop Arrested for Helping Drug Dealers

Pension was in accused NYPD cop Emmanuel Tavarez's sights
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - May 12, 2010

NYPD cop may have been just days away from scoring a tax-free disability pension when he was busted.

NYPD Officer Tavarez sold out badge to crime crew that posed as cops, feds charge
When NYPD cop Emmanuel Tavarez was busted for helping drug dealers last week, he may have been just days away from scoring a tax-free disability pension. The eight-year veteran had been approved for the pension by a panel of doctors for a line-of-duty knee injury, sources said. The case was on the board's calendar for this morning, but Tavarez won't be there - he's in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Federal drug agents arrested him last week on charges of outfitting robbery crew members with NYPD raid jackets and other police paraphernalia so they looked like real cops. He allegedly took part in stickups of drug dealers. His defense lawyer Lisa Scolari said in court yesterday that Tavarez was originally injured chasing a perp on a bicycle but decided not to retire. He later reinjured his knee, Scolari said - without telling the judge he was seeking a tax-free pension. Scolari said the cop had been a "phenomenal athlete" and was scouted by professional baseball teams. Magistrate Robert Levy approved a $1.8 million bail package but federal prosecutors are appealing the decision. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Meyer argued Tavarez may flee to the Dominican Republic because he faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted of the robbery conspiracy charges.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Officer Seeks Bail as Ex-Officer Pleads Guilty

One Officer Seeks Bail as Ex-Officer Pleads Guilty
The New York Times by A. G. SULZBERGER - May 13, 2010

Two police officers — one current and the other former — appeared in the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Thursday, each to deal with strikingly similar criminal charges related to the misuse of police authority. The former officer, Jorge H. Arbaje-Diaz, pleaded guilty for his participation in robberies of drug dealers set up to look like police raids. The current officer, Emmanuel Tavarez, appeared at a bail hearing on charges that he participated in an unrelated but nearly identical scheme. The overlapping appearances in United States District Court for the Eastern District, in Brooklyn, highlighted how similar the narratives were of a form of police corruption that Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, said “unfairly tarnishes the proud reputation of the thousands of law enforcement officers in New York.” Both cases involved violent crews that conducted more than 100 robberies in the Northeast over several years, during which members posed as police officers to gain entry into homes to steal money and drugs, prosecutors said. And both cases included real officers who used police equipment and threats of arrest, prosecutors said. “Though these cases are similar, there are no common defendants, and no evidence indicating that there is a connection,” said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Ms. Lynch’s office.

Mr. Arbaje-Diaz, a three-year veteran of the Police Department, had been assigned to the transit bureau in the Bronx when he was arrested, and he resigned from the force in 2008. He spoke tentatively as he pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and drug distribution conspiracy, his words barely audible. He told Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis that he repeatedly robbed drug dealers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, later selling the drugs he would seize. “At times, I committed these robberies while I was wearing my police uniform and badge,” he said. “At times, I would brandish my off-duty revolver and use my N.Y.P.D. handcuffs to restrain victims.” Mr. Arbaje-Diaz is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16. He faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison. Even as Mr. Arbaje-Diaz was winding down his case, Officer Tavarez was in the early stages of his own involvement with the federal criminal justice system. Prosecutors have accused Officer Tavarez of outfitting members of his robbery crew with raid jackets that bore the “N.Y.P.D.” insignia, along with badges, handcuffs and bullet-resistant vests. On at least one occasion, prosecutors said, he handed over his own service revolver for use in a robbery. Officer Tavarez, who has been suspended without pay, was making his third appearance since his arrest last week to determine whether he will be released on bail. He was ordered released last week on $1.8 million bail by a magistrate judge, but the government appealed to Judge Sandra L. Townes, calling him a danger to the community and a flight risk. Judge Townes said she would decide whether to release Officer Tavarez during another hearing on Friday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cop Pleads Guilty To Stealing Heroin From Drug Dealers At Gunpoint

Cop pleads guilty to stealing heroin from drug dealers at gunpoint
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - May 14, 2010

An NYPD cop pleaded guilty Thursday to robbing heroin from drug dealers at gunpoint and using his police handcuffs to restrain them. Jorge (Shorty) Arbaje-Diaz, 31, admitted he was part of a crew that pulled stickups in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. The cop even left his post patrolling the transit system to carry out one robbery in full uniform, the feds said. Arbaje-Diaz resigned from the force after he was arrested in 2008. He faces 20 years in prison. Meanwhile, prosecutors released new details yesterday about a second transit cop accused this week of being a member of a different robbery crew. A suspect fleeing a drug-related robbery in Philadelphia was carrying an NYPD badge bearing Officer Emmanuel Tavarez's number. Tavarez allegedly took part in a heist in New York City that netted more than $100,000 in drug cash.