Former New York City Police Officer Sentenced To 18 Years’ Imprisonment
Officer Assigned To Harlem Precinct Committed Armed Robberies While On Duty And In Uniform In Queens, The Bronx, And Manhattan
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, former New York City Police Officer Jose Tejada was sentenced to 18 years in prison by United States District Judge John Gleeson. Tejada was convicted after a six-week jury trial in November 2013 of two counts of obstruction of justice and after a two-week jury trial in June 2014 of conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robberies and conspiring to distribute cocaine and heroin.
The sentence was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division, and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Tejada was a 17-year veteran of the NYPD who, at the time of the criminal conduct, was assigned to the 28th Precinct in Harlem. This prosecution arose out of Tejada’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, in uniform, and using an NYPD undercover vehicle.
“The defendant violated his sworn oath as a New York City police officer to protect and serve the citizens of New York by conspiring to commit armed robberies and to distribute narcotics stolen during those robberies.” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Today’s sentence will send a message that no one – especially one sworn to uphold the law – is immune from prosecution if he engages in criminal acts.” 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 the two trials showed that Tejada participated in multiple armed robberies and attempted robberies, which netted thousands of dollars in cash and multiple kilograms of cocaine.
In one such 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 occupied by a husband and wife and their teenaged daughter. Tejada and two other robbers impersonating police officers mistakenly believed that the residence was a stash house for narcotics. In fact, the residents had no involvement in drug dealing. While Tejada and the other robbers unsuccessfully searched the premises for drugs, Tejada attempted to handcuff the male victim and brandished his NYPD-issued firearm in an effort to intimidate the innocent family.
In a robbery near 125th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, Tejada, fellow NYPD officer Jorge Arbaje-Diaz, and NYPD auxiliary officer Yvan Tineo pulled over an SUV, 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.
In an incident outside an arrivals terminal 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 on board incoming commercial flights. The staged arrest permitted the corrupt airline employee and the members of the robbery crew to steal at least five kilograms of cocaine from the drug organization to whom the corrupt airline employee was to deliver the drugs.
Tejada also supplied members of the robbery crew with NYPD gear and equipment, including an NYPD jacket, utility belt, and police radio, to enable members of the robbery crew to impersonate police officers during the drug robberies.
The evidence at the two trials also showed that Tejada searched confidential 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 one of 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 police officers. Tejada is the third NYPD officer to be convicted in these cases. In addition, two NYPD auxiliary officers have been convicted as well. In total, 52 defendants who participated in this robbery crew 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)
1 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.