NY Officer Accused of Leading Drug Robbery Crew Pleads Not Guilty

Dana Garrett and Lateef Mungin, CNN, April 4, 2013

A veteran New York police officer accused of equipping a robbery crew with state-of-the art police equipment and helping them loot drug dealers out of $1 million pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday.

Jose Tejada, 45, also is accused of allowing the robbery crew to use his Manhattan apartment for their enterprise.

In court documents filed Wednesday, federal prosecutors said the crew posed as police officers and used fake warrants to arrest drug traffickers.

The crew then robbed those it arrested of their money and their stashes of marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine, authorities said.

In all, the group–comprising Tejada and at least 21 others–is responsible for more than 100 armed robberies throughout New York City since 2001, according to officials.

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In 2006 and 2007, Tejada participated in three robberies, prosecutors say, stealing thousands of dollars while dressed in his police uniform. In one of the cases, the crew stormed a Bronx home searching for cocaine.

“The crew mistakenly believed the residents to be drug dealers,” court documents said. “In fact, the residents were a family of three, including a teenager, who had no involvement in drug dealing.”

The crew did not find drugs but searched the home while Tejada held the family at gunpoint, prosecutors allege. Once they left, the family called 911.

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