Federal Grand Jury Indicts Two Chicago Police Officers For Fraudulently Obtaining Search Warrants and Stealing Evidence
CHICAGO — Two Chicago Police Officers assigned to a gang unit on the city's West Side knowingly submitted false affidavits to judges to obtain search warrants and stole cash and drugs from properties they searched, according to a federal indictment announced today.
Officers XAVIER ELIZONDO and DAVID SALGADO were assigned to a gang team in the Chicago Police Department's Tenth District. Elizondo is a sergeant who oversaw the team. According to the charges, the officers conspired to submit materially false information to state court judges to obtain search warrants that enabled them to enter various properties and seize cash and drugs. The officers also stole property and falsified police reports to conceal the thefts, the indictment states. The charges describe how Elizondo and Salgado pocketed $4,200 in cash recovered during a search of a rental vehicle in Chicago on Jan. 28, 2018.
The indictment was returned Wednesday in federal court in Chicago. It charges Elizondo, 45, of Chicago, and Salgado, 37, of Chicago, with one count of conspiracy to commit theft and one count of embezzlement. Salgado is also charged individually with one count of making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Arraignments in U.S. District Court have not yet been scheduled.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
"When police officers fail to discharge their duties with honesty and integrity, they betray not only the citizens of Chicago, but their fellow officers who do their jobs the right way," said U.S. Attorney Lausch. "Our office will continue to vigorously prosecute corruption at all levels, and hold accountable public servants who choose to violate the public trust for personal gain."
"Law enforcement corruption undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system," remarked Special Agent-in-Charge Sallet. "The Chicago Police Department and the FBI will continue to partner aggressively to combat corruption and civil rights abuses, ensuring the integrity of Chicago law enforcement. These charges illustrate the Chicago Police Department’s and the FBI’s commitment and ability to address isolated incidents where officers betray the badge."
"Over the last two years, CPD has worked tirelessly to build trust and partnerships with the communities we serve. That is why the alleged conduct is very troubling – it dishonors what I and every member of CPD have dedicated our lives to and risk our lives for each and every day," said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "I have zero tolerance for any behavior that violates the hard work of the people who wear this star. That is why I'm proud CPD played a central role in this investigation, working side by side with our Federal partners since the very beginning."
According to the indictment, Elizondo and Salgado submitted the false applications for "J. Doe" search warrants, which rely on information provided by confidential informants with knowledge of the criminal activity. In order to obtain such a warrant, officers must submit a sworn complaint that details the information alleged by the informant, and then bring the informant before the judge so that the judge could personally examine the truthfulness of the information. The charges allege that Elizondo and Salgado caused two Chicago residents to pose as "J. Doe" confidential informants and furnish false information to the court. After using the warrants to seize cash, drugs and cartons of cigarettes from Chicago properties, the officers allegedly gave a portion of those items to the purported informants.
The false statement charge accuses Salgado of lying to the FBI about his whereabouts during his police shift on the day after the theft from the rental car. On Jan. 29, 2018, after Elizondo discovered that law enforcement was potentially investigating him and Salgado, Elizondo instructed
Salgado to remove property from Salgado’s home, the indictment states. When interviewed by the FBI the following day, Salgado falsely claimed that he did not remember whether he had returned home during his shift, according to the charges.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The embezzlement count carries a maximum sentence of ten years, while the conspiracy and false statement counts are each punishable by up to five years. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean J.B. Franzblau and Ankur Srivastava.