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100 Dirty Cops Arrested in FBI's Largest Corruption Probe

100 Dirty Cops Arrested in FBI's Largest Corruption Probe

FBI agents escorted police officers arrested during yesterday’s drug corruption raids in Puerto Rico. US Attorney General Eric Holder called it the largest police corruption case in FBI history. (Ana Martinez/AP)

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

October 07, 2010

PUERTO RICO – The biggest police corruption probe in the 102-year history of the FBI snared more than 130 people Wednesday in Puerto Rico. The bulk of them were law enforcement officers accused of providing security to drug traffickers.

The arrests were the latest blow to a scandal-plagued island police department struggling with soaring crime and dirty cops who allegedly accepted bribes from $500 to $4,500 to protect cocaine shipments.

Officers were allegedly caught on video bragging about smuggling marijuana into jails, offering bullets called "cop-killers’’ for sale and murdering and burying people in lye, said Luis Fraticelli, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Puerto Rico.

One female officer even planned to use her payoff for a charitable cause: She asked undercover agents for money to buy uniforms for the children in the Police Athletic League.

The Justice Department said nearly 750 FBI agents were flown to San Juan from across the country to conduct the "Operation Guard Shack’’ roundup.

As a major transshipment point for Colombian cocaine, Puerto Rico has long been convulsed by drug-related violence. Wednesday’s arrests underscore the failure to provide adequate law enforcement in the U.S. commonwealth. But demands for more police officers have flooded the island with poorly supervised, underpaid officers with dubious backgrounds, police and federal officials acknowledged.

“For as long as I have been involved in these cases, there has never been a sense of accountability in the police department,’’ said San Juan attorney Judith Berkan, who has specialized in police corruption and brutality cases for 35 years.

“What exists is pure impunity, so much so that it is very common for police officers in Puerto Rico to openly violate the law. . . . I have seen corrupt police officers, violent officers, gangs operating in the police,‘’ she said. ``With these arrests, they are just scratching the surface.’’

The Puerto Rico police has for years been plagued by accusations of graft. Federal investigations were routinely stymied by leaks in local police departments. In the past week, two Puerto Rico police officers were charged with murder in separate incidents.

The arrests were the talk of Puerto Rico Wednesday.

Alvin Torres Martínez, 33, of San Juan’s Puerta de Tierra neighborhood, said his mistrust of the police is so deep that he would never pull over if stopped by an officer.

“They would have to follow me to Puerta de Tierra and we’d get into it over there,’’ he said.

The results of the two-year investigation were announced in Washington by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was flanked by Puerto Rico’s top federal prosecutor, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez.

FBI Assistant Director Shawn Henry said the investigation required an ``unprecedented level of coordination’’ from 30 of the FBI’s 56 field offices. The FBI flew in surgeons, ambulances and airplanes in case of any mishaps, Fraticelli said.

The charges stem from 125 videotaped undercover drug transactions across Puerto Rico from July 2008 until September 2010, Holder said. ``The officers provided security during undercover drug deals in exchange for payments ranging from $500 to $4,500 per transaction — more than half a million dollars in total,’’ he said.

“This is the biggest police corruption case in the history of Puerto Rico and the United States and the FBI,’’ Fraticelli said at a separate press conference in San Juan.

Of the 133 people charged, 61 were members of the Puerto Rico police, an island-wide force which saw officers arrested in 27 different police stations. Nineteen officers were arrested at the Bayamón precinct alone.

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  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50

    KAICHARESE

    almost 4 years ago

    2762 Comments

    good job FBI

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    Jinks

    almost 4 years ago

    26 Comments

    they couldnt resist the nose candy

  • Herosonpatrol_max50

    BeachAngel

    almost 4 years ago

    5892 Comments

    Read about this already, but FBI always rock and in taking out the garbage; great job done by FBI folks.

  • Stmaarten2_max50

    bumperdog831

    almost 4 years ago

    264 Comments

    good. anyone who deals with that white sh*t deserves jail

  • Profile1_max50

    avictor

    almost 4 years ago

    478 Comments

    This will disrupt the flow of power among gangs and now prepare for gang wars as they all try to take over what they perceive as new territory opportunities created by perceived vulnerability of rival gangs.

  • Basco-22_max50

    BP348

    almost 4 years ago

    114 Comments

    Thanks to Copper90. I just knew my math had to be off somehow. I'll leave out further comments about the fraud, waste, and abuse.

  • Images_max160_sq90_max50

    t1401hm

    almost 4 years ago

    1754 Comments

    Copper, it's because those 129 people had guns.

  • Images_max160_sq90_max50

    t1401hm

    almost 4 years ago

    1754 Comments

    Wow...

  • 180px-chp_4th_gen_camaro_in_traditional_colors_max50

    propbraker

    almost 4 years ago

    894 Comments

    And they want to become the 51st state to join our union? I hope not.....

    Good job to all the FBI Agents!

  • Me_max600_max50

    patrickT

    almost 4 years ago

    322 Comments

    How large is the department in PR? Now that the real problem is address, it's time to work on the PR -- public relations.... got it? Puerto Rico .... Public Relations !!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    "Someone please explain to me why they needed 1000 FBI agents to arrest 129 corrupt officers? No disrespect but honestly I'd be pretty F'ing embarrassed if my agency planned an operation that required 95+ Agents to arrest 1 person. Let’s not even go into the fraud, waste, and abuse of tax payer’s money for air fare and per diem to send 750 Agents to the island."

    Here's the explanation. The ratio is not 95 agents to 1 arrestee....it's 9 to 1. Take off 2 for processing, command posts, other admin, and it's 7 agents to arrest every 1 dirty cop on an island where violence is standard, and because they were arresting locals, the support by the non-arrested locals was questionable. Nobody was hurt, so I wouldn't worry about the fruad, waste and abuse......there's plenty out there, no sense trying to question officer safety.

  • 1051193310_l_max50

    95Zcar

    almost 4 years ago

    3992 Comments

    Nice work by the Feds! I hope that Puerto Rican law enforcement can make a quick recovery

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    GREAT WORK BY FBI

  • P1030380_max50

    bigomar

    almost 4 years ago

    140 Comments

    I'll bet there still a few more hundred officers to go , as far I can remember Puerto Rico police always been one of the worst corrupted departments of all time just like the majority of puerto rican politicians .

  • Th_detective_max50

    Retleo

    almost 4 years ago

    5524 Comments

    Talk about "Taking Out The Garbage", great job by the FBI!

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