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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 21, 2017

Three Former Police Officers And A Police Officer Charged With Conspiracy To Interfere With Commerce By Robbery And Drug Trafficking

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On July 20, 2017, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against four defendants charged with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, brandishing firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The FBI is in charge of the investigation.

The indictment alleges that on or about September 6, 2013, in the District of Puerto Rico the defendants Manuel Grego-López, José A. López-Sierra, and Christian Valles-Collazo, former police officers and Police Officer Alex Candelaria-Jurado did knowingly and intentionally, combine, conspire, and agree with each other and with diverse other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to commit an offense against the United States, that is, robbery. The defendants robbed more than five kilograms of cocaine from an individual in the presence of his family.

The defendants used an official vehicle and an unmarked vehicle to commit the robbery. They also used their service firearms and represented to have a search warrant and to be acting in an official capacity in order to gain control over the victims. Subsequently, the defendants sold the cocaine they had robbed for personal financial gain.

“Law enforcement officers who use their badges to commit criminal acts disregard their oath to protect and promote the rule of law,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “These defendants acted like the same drug traffickers they were supposed to arrest and investigate, and they chose to become criminals themselves. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively prosecute individuals who abuse their power to commit federal offenses.”

FBI will continue to dedicate significant resources to ensure that any law enforcement officer who violates their oath and disgraces their badge will be apprehended and dealt with as the criminals they have become. Along with our partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Puerto Rico Police Department, we will do everything in our power to protect the proud history of this department, and to honor the long list of women and men who have dedicated their lives to the service of the people of Puerto Rico." Douglas A. Leff - FBI SAC

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor O. Acevedo-Hernández and Max J. Pérez-Bouret are in charge of the prosecution of the case. If convicted the defendants face a minimum sentence of 17 years, and up to life in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated July 21, 2017