Brooklyn, NY - June 19, 2014 - Earlier today, following a two-week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, returned a guilty verdict against former New York City Police Officer Jose Tejada on charges of armed robbery conspiracy and narcotics distribution conspiracy. Tejada was a 17-year veteran of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) who, at the time of the robberies, was assigned to the 28th Precinct in Harlem. These charges arose out of the defendant’s commission of multiple robberies and attempted robberies in Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx in 2006 and 2007, some of which he committed while on duty and in uniform. When sentenced by United States District Judge John Gleeson, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The defendant was previously convicted in November 2013, following a jury trial, of two counts of obstruction of justice for his role in helping other members of his robbery crew avoid arrest.
The verdict was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division, and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.
“Tejada dishonored his badge and his uniform when he crossed the line from cop to robber. Tejada and his crew targeted drug dealers, not to bring them to justice, but to steal their narcotics for their own profit. In the process, innocent citizens were terrorized and threatened,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will continue to prosecute aggressively law enforcement officers who abuse their authority and violate the law.” Ms. Lynch expressed her thanks to the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force – comprising DEA special agents, NYPD officers, and New York State Police investigators – and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Division, Police Impersonation Investigation Unit, which jointly led the investigation. The evidence presented at trial showed that Tejada participated in multiple armed robberies and attempted robberies, which netted thousands of dollars in cash and multiple kilograms of cocaine.
During an attempted robbery on Schley Avenue in the Bronx, Tejada, while on duty and in uniform, used his status as a police officer to demand and gain access to a private residence. The robbery crew mistakenly believed the residents to be drug dealers. In fact, the residents were a family of three, including a teenager, who had no involvement in drug dealing. Tejada and two others unsuccessfully searched the premises for drugs, while Tejada brandished his service weapon to intimidate the innocent family and attempted to handcuff a victim.
In a robbery on Broadway in Upper Manhattan, Tejada, NYPD officer Jorge Arbaje-Diaz, and NYPD Auxiliary officer Yvan Tineo pulled over a car, handcuffed the driver, and stole five kilograms of cocaine hidden inside the car.1 In another robbery on Seaman Avenue in Upper Manhattan, Tejada and Tineo robbed a drug supplier of three kilograms of cocaine at gunpoint.
Arbaje-Diaz was previously convicted of robbery conspiracy and narcotics distribution conspiracy, and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. Tineo was previously convicted of robbery conspiracy, narcotics distribution conspiracy, and unlawful use of a firearm, and is awaiting sentencing.
In an incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, Tejada, Arbaje-Diaz, and Tineo staged the arrest of a corrupt airline employee who was part of a scheme to smuggle narcotics into the United States through incoming commercial flights. The corrupt airline employee wanted Tejada and others to pretend to arrest him at the arrivals terminal while he delivered a drug shipment to his confederates. This staged arrest yielded Tejada, Arbagje-Diaz, and Tineo at least five kilograms of cocaine.
The evidence at trial also showed that Tejada supplied members of the robbery crew with police equipment and paraphernalia to enable them to impersonate police officers.
In the November 2013 trial, the evidence showed that Tejada searched law enforcement databases to determine whether there were outstanding warrants for his own arrest, as well as for the arrest of other members of the robbery crew. Tejada then shared that information with his confederates in an effort to assist them in evading arrest.
Tejada’s conviction is the most recent of dozens of convictions in a set of interlocking cases brought in the Eastern District of New York against the members of violent drug robbery crews who impersonated police officers and frequently committed robberies with real officers. Tejada is the third NYPD officer to be convicted in these cases; two NYPD Auxiliary officers have been convicted as well. In total, 52 defendants have been convicted.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon, Douglas M. Pravda, and Kenji M. Price.
JOSE FELIX TEJADA
Mahopac, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 08-CR-242 (JG)