APRIL 04 (BROOKLYN, NY) - A superseding indictment was unsealed yesterday evening in federal court in Brooklyn charging New York City Police Officer Jose Tejada with armed robbery conspiracy, narcotics distribution conspiracy, and the unlawful use of a firearm. Tejada is 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 and committed at least one of the robberies while on duty and in uniform. Tejada will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
The superseding indictment added Tejada as a defendant to a previously filed indictment against a violent crew responsible for more than one hundred armed robberies of narcotics traffickers in the New York City metropolitan area that netted more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in drug proceeds. As detailed in the superseding indictment and a detention letter filed by the government, beginning in 2001, members of the robbery crew, posing as police officers, staged arrests of drug traffickers, using fake arrest and search warrants, and then forcibly took drugs and money from the traffickers. Members of the crew restrained the drug traffickers with handcuffs, rope, and duct tape. During some of these robberies, crew members brandished firearms and assaulted their victims. The crew included actual officers, such as Tejada, who is the third member of law enforcement to be charged in the case.
According to the government’s filings, Tejada personally participated in three robberies in 2006 and 2007, which netted thousands of dollars in cash and multiple kilograms of cocaine. During one of the robberies, Tejada, while on duty and in uniform, used his status as a police officer to demand and gain access to a private residence in the Bronx. The 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 at the family. During another robbery in Upper Manhattan, Tejada and other crew members dressed in NYPD uniforms – including a second, actual NYPD officer – pulled over a car, handcuffed the driver, and stole five kilograms of cocaine hidden inside the car.
According to the government’s filings, Tejada helped robbery crew members pose as police officers by supplying them with NYPD equipment and paraphernalia. Tejada also searched confidential law enforcement databases to determine whether there were outstanding warrants in the names of his confederates.
Twenty-one members of the robbery crew, including a second NYPD officer and an auxiliary NYPD officer, have previously been convicted in the case. At the time of the robberies, Tejada was assigned to the 28th Precinct in Harlem. Currently, he is assigned to Police Service Area 7 of the NYPD Housing Bureau, located in the Bronx.
United States Attorney Lynch thanked the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (DETF) which his comprised of agents and officers from the DEA, NYPD and the NYSP; along with the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau for their work on the case, and United States Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations for their assistance. If convicted, Tejada faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment on the narcotics and firearms charges.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Solomon and Douglas Pravda.