NYPD Police Officer and Two Others Indicted for Armed Robbery Conspiracy and Narcotics Trafficking
OCT 31 -- A superseding indictment was unsealed this morning in federal court in Brooklyn adding three defendants – JORGE H. ARBAJE-DIAZ, FELIX RODRIGUEZ, and ALFREDO ANTONIO ACOSTA – to an indictment previously obtained on May 6, 2008, against a violent robbery crew responsible for more than one hundred armed robberies of narcotics traffickers along the east coast of the United States that netted more than 750 kilograms of cocaine and $4 million in drug proceeds. 1 One of the three new defendants, ARBAJE-DIAZ, is a three-year veteran of the New York City Police Department assigned to the NYPD’s Transit District 11 in the Bronx. ARBAJE-DIAZ will be arraigned later today before United States District Judge Nicolas G. Garaufis at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The charges were announced by New York, John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York, Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Robert T. Johnson, District Attorney, Bronx County, Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department and Harry J. Corbitt, Superintendent, New York State Police.
As detailed in the indictments and a detention letter filed by the government, beginning in May 2003, crew members posed as police officers in order to subdue narcotics traffickers and their families, and then kidnapped, tortured, and robbed their victims. ARBAJE-DIAZ used his status as a police officer to demand and gain access to the victims’ residences. Once inside, ARBAJE-DIAZ and his co-defendants handcuffed their victims at gunpoint, threatening to arrest them if they did not reveal where their drugs and money were stored. ARBAJE-DIAZ is alleged to have personally participated in robberies which netted thousands of dollars in cash and multiple kilograms of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana with a wholesale value estimated at more than $200,000. On at least one occasion, ARBAJE-DIAZ carried out an armed robbery with members of the crew while on duty wearing his NYPD uniform and carrying his department issued firearm, badge, and handcuffs.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “Law enforcement officers worldwide take an oath to work for the public good. The crimes committed by Arbaje-Diaz are a slap in the face to the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are dedicated to upholding the law. For the men and women in law enforcement, this crime is especially disgraceful.”
“Each of the defendants, by his brazen conduct, is alleged to have committed serious crimes. Arbaje-Diaz compounded that by violating the very law he was sworn to uphold and brings dishonor to the proud reputation of the thousands of law enforcement officers in New York who put their lives on the line every day to protect our residents and their communities,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. Mr. Campbell thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; New York State Police; Durham, North Carolina Police, Special Operations Division, Major Crimes Unit; and the Philadelphia Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
Bronx County District Attorney Johnson stated, “These newest allegations are deeply troubling. If, as the indictment alleges, a New York City Police Officer committed these crimes while on duty in uniform, his actions are a terrible stain on a Department in which thousands of men and women carry their badge with honor and serve with integrity.”
NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “The robust investigation and collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies foiled a criminal enterprise that used police impersonation among its weapons and had spread to at least six states. It was disappointing that a real police officer was among the impersonators, especially when police officers risk – and too often lose – their lives in combating violent crime. The members of the Drug Enforcement Task Force Group T-32 Redrum and the 46th Precinct Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit team are to be commended for tamping this wellspring of violence and drug trafficking. Our Internal Affairs Bureau is to be commended for bringing a rogue officer to justice.”
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea Goldbarg and Shreve Ariail, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Shockett, an Assistant District Attorney from the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office.
The New Defendants:
JORGE H. ARBAJE-DIAZ, also known as “Shorty”
FELIX RODRIGUEZ, also known as “Alexi” and “Macho”
ALFREDO ANTONIO ACOSTA, also known as “Cartier” and “Papito”