PHILADELPHIA - A second superseding indictment was unsealed today against former Philadelphia Police Officers Jonathan Garcia, 23, and Sydemy Joanis, 27, both of Philadelphia, charging them with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, Hobbs Act robbery, attempted Hobbs Act robbery, and carrying firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence. Garcia is also charged with distribution of heroin. The charges against Joanis were added to a superseding indictment against Garcia. Joanis was arrested this morning. Garcia was arrested on June 20, 2012, and remains in federal custody. The charges were announced today by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Edward Hanko, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
According to the second superseding indictment, between December 2009 and June 19, 2012, while working as Philadelphia Police Officers assigned to the 17th Police District, Garcia and Joanis conspired to rob suspected drug dealers of the cash proceeds of their narcotics trafficking. It is alleged that they engaged in this scheme while on active duty, using their Philadelphia Police patrol car, uniform, loaded service pistol, and handcuffs to commit the robberies.
The indictment alleges that Garcia and Joanis utilized a confidential source (“Person #1”) to participate in the robbery of suspected drug dealers by purchasing narcotics from the suspected drug dealers. Garcia and Joanis allegedly provided Person #1 with money, instructed Person #1 to meet with suspected drug dealers inside their cars, and further instructed Person #1 to leave inside the cars a small amount of the drugs, usually cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), that Person #1 purchased. After Person #1 exited the suspected drug dealers’ cars, it is alleged that defendants Garcia and Joanis initiated bogus traffic stops on the individual and, upon finding the drugs purposefully left behind by Person #1, conducted searches of the individuals and their cars, arrested the individuals, and stole some or all of the money that they recovered. Garcia and Joanis allegedly compensated Person #1 with money or narcotics.
“The defendants’ alleged conduct in this case strikes at the very heart of the public trust that our citizens should have for our police officers,” said U.S. Attorney Memeger. “It is a priority of my office to investigate and prosecute corrupt officers who taint their badges by using their power and authority to victimize others rather than to serve and protect the community.”
“We will continue to aggressively pursue any officer that commits criminal acts to rid the Department of individuals who don't belong,” said Commissioner Ramsey. “Our Internal Affairs Investigators have been working independently and cohesively with our Federal Partners to accomplish this task. Corrupt Cops don't represent the honor or integrity that our Department or Law Enforcement stands for and therefore they will be held accountable at the highest level.”
“Illegal conduct by police officers undermines the public trust, harming law enforcement at every level,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Hanko. “These charges underscore the FBI’s commitment to investigating allegations of criminal activity, no matter who is involved.”
If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison with a maximum sentence of life.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin R. Brenner.
Click here to view the indictment
An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
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