Feds: Uniformed Philly police officers used badges to rob drug dealers

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger. (Credit: Charles Mostoller).
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger. (Credit: Charles Mostoller).

Federal prosecutors in an indictment unsealed Tuesday charged two former Philadelphia police officers with allegedly leveraging their badges and guns to rob drug dealers.

Jonathan Garcia, 23, has been in federal custody since a sting operation conducted June 29, 2012 that led to his arrest for allegedly selling heroin.

Sydemy Joanis, 27, was arrested Tuesday, though Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he resigned from the force soon after Garcia was arrested.

Officials with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department allege Garcia and Joanis conspired to rob suspected drug dealers of narcotics trafficking proceeds while on active duty between December 2009 and June 2012, using a confidential source – identified in court documents only as Person #1 – to help identify targets, buy drugs and, in some cases, to plant drugs in targets’ cars in order to justify searches and seizures.

“Garcia and Joanis stopped and searched individuals whom they believed were drug dealers,” U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said.

“If Garcia and Joanis found other drugs or money during the search, they seized the items and arrested the individual.

“Garcia and Joanis then prepared paperwork, which at various times failed to identify their use of a confidential source, fabricated the justifications for the police stop and failed to fully disclose all of the money seized from those arrested.”

The two officers are accused of providing Person #1 with money and instructing the informant to meet with suspected drug dealers inside their cars.

Prosecutors said they often told Person #1 to leave behind a small amount of the drug purchased – usually crack cocaine – inside the car.

As Person #1 exited the vehicles, Garcia and Joanis would then allegedly initiate bogus traffic stops on the suspected drug dealers and, after finding the drugs purposefully left behind by the informant and arrest the suspects.

The officers would then allegedly falsify paperwork to steal all or some of the money recovered from the arrest and split the proceeds.

“It’s disappointing because it paints the entire department with a broad brush, but the vast majority of our officers work hard every day, do a good job, do it honestly and they deserve better than to have people like this in the ranks, and I’m committed to rooting them out,” Ramsey said.

He added corrupt conduct is damaging to the essential public trust in the department crucial to officers properly doing their jobs.

“Do I think it’s systemic? No I don’t,” he said.

“But do I think we have rotten cops in our ranks? We do have a few and we’re going to root them out.”

Ramsey said he’s open to discussing oversight policies regarding how cases are reviewed to identify possible patterns of officer misconduct, but added corrupt cops make it a point to circumvent department directives and orders.

“Obviously, what they’re accused of doing is not standard operating procedure,” he said.

“They find a way to work around this stuff, so keep that in mind. It’s not as if I’m one directive short of preventing a person from doing this. He’s just a thief, he’s a crook, I mean, he’s committing robberies.”

If convicted, Garcia and Joanis each face a minimum sentence of 30 years in jail and a maximum penalty of a life prison term.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.