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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ex-Officer Sentenced for Robbing Drug Dealers

Ex-Officer Sentenced for Robbing Drug Dealers 
The New York Times by Tim Stelloh  -  May 9, 2012

A former New York City police officer was sentenced on Wednesday to 25 years in prison for robbing drug dealers with a gang. Despite a last-minute effort by the former officer, Emmanuel Tavarez, to portray himself as a victim who had been forced into participating in the robberies, Judge Sandra L. Townes of Federal District Court in Brooklyn called his claim “arrogant and insulting to this court.” “You acted out of greed and not duress,” she said. During the hearing, a tearful Mr. Tavarez apologized to family, friends and the Police Department, saying, “It was never my intention to hurt you.” Mr. Tavarez admitted that he had accepted thousands of dollars and participated in almost a dozen of the more than 100 robberies that the gang carried out over nearly a decade. Mr. Tavarez, who pleaded guilty last year, often acted as a lookout for the group, which included several of his in-laws; he also provided members with police paraphernalia, like jackets adorned with the N.Y.P.D. logo and in one instance told those being robbed that it was a police raid. During a recent hearing, Mr. Tavarez said his brother-in-law, Eloys Fernandez, had threatened to kill him or his sister if he said anything about the robberies. Mr. Fernandez, who appeared in court last week and is cooperating with prosecutors, denied that. When a prosecutor asked another member of the gang, Gabriel Martinez — also a cooperating witness — about Mr. Tavarez’s participation, he said Mr. Tavarez was “thirsty for money.” Mr. Martinez said Mr. Tavarez had offered to pay his wife $500 every two weeks if Mr. Martinez signed an affidavit saying he did not know Mr. Tavarez. Mr. Martinez said, through an interpreter, that Mr. Tavarez was “refusing to accept” reality. Mosi Secret contributed reporting.

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