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A former sergeant from the Police of Puerto Rico (POPR) was sentenced today to serve 101 months in prison for his involvement in a July 2012 home invasion robbery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. A second former POPR officer was also sentenced today to serve 24 months in prison for lying to federal agents about his role in the same robbery and for his participation in a second, unrelated robbery.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico made the announcement.
Jorge Fernandez-Aviles, 49, of Carolina, Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2014, to robbery and firearms charges, and was sentenced to 101 months in prison today. According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, on July 14, 2012, Sergeant Fernandez and other POPR officers, armed with their POPR weapons, robbed a house in Bayamon. They drove to the robbery in a marked patrol car loaned to them by a POPR officer. Upon entering the house, the officers identified themselves as police, falsely claimed they were executing a search warrant, and searched and detained the individuals who were present. They then stole money and cocaine. Fernandez-Aviles later received payment from the proceeds of the sale of the stolen cocaine for his participation in the robbery.
Former POPR Officer Alexander Mir-Hernandez, 40, of Carolina, Puerto Rico pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2014, to making false statements to federal agents and to a separate civil rights crime in connection with a December 2013 robbery, and was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison today. According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, when he was interviewed by FBI agents in June 2014, Mir made several false statements and falsely denied providing the patrol car that was used to commit the July 2012 robbery. Mir also admitted to stealing thousands of dollars in drug trafficking proceeds from a money courier at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in December 2013 while he was on duty as a POPR officer.
Both defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Judge José Antonio Fusté of the District of Puerto Rico. The remaining four defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in February and March 2015.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Division. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Heidi Boutros Gesch and Brian K. Kidd of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mariana Bauzá of the District of Puerto Rico.