Sunday, December 07, 2008

Chief Gerardo Garay Arrested for Helping Cartel


Mexico's former acting federal police chief was accused Friday of collaborating with a notorious cartel and stealing money from a mansion during a raid to bust a drug trafficking ring.

A judge ordered Gerardo Garay's formal arrest on suspicion of organized crime, robbery and abuse of power, according to a statement from the Attorney General's office. Garay had been under preliminary detention for a month, but authorities had not revealed the allegations against him. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Garay is among several federal police officers arrested in "Operation Clean House," which aims to weed out corruption that came to light after the January arrest of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, a reputed Sinaloa cartel lieutenant.

Some of those arrested had been at the helm of President Felipe Calderon's nationwide offensive to take back territory controlled by drug gangs, a two-year campaign involving the deployment of more than 20,000 soldiers.

The U.S. has backed that effort with $400 million to provide Mexican security forces with training and equipment, although Congress has conditioned 15 percent of the aid on Mexico's efforts to clean up its police force.

The Attorney General's office said Garay is accused of protecting the Beltran Leyva brothers, reputed drug gang leaders. Officials declined to elaborate.

He is also accused of stealing money from a mansion during an October raid that led to the breakup of gang that allegedly arranged for cocaine shipments from Colombia to the Beltran Leyvas. At the time, police also seized a collection of animals, including two tigers and two lions, from a private zoo at the ornate mansion in Mexico City.

Garay took over as acting federal police chief earlier this year after the assassination of his predecessor.

He was transferred to a federal prison Thursday, along with three other federal police officers.

One officer was also accused of collaborating with the Beltran Leyva brothers and stealing from the mansion. The other two were accused of protecting Jesus "The King" Zambada, a reputed Sinaloa cartel lieutenant arrested in October. Zambada allegedly led drug smuggling operations through the Mexico City airport.

Separately Friday, the No. 2 immigration official in the southern Mexican border state of Chiapas was fired for allegedly taking bribes from nightclub owners who employed illegal migrants.

An official with the National Migration Institute says Erick Alejandro Jan is under investigation for corruption and abuse of authority. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized the disclose the information.

Officer Richard Kern Indicted for Sodomizing Man

With word that an indictment will be unsealed Tuesday against a police officer accused of sodomizing a man in a Brooklyn subway station, supporters of the victim spoke out Sunday.

According to the New York Post, Officer Richard Kern will be charged with assault or aggravated sexual assault in the alleged attack on Michael Mineo.

Kern has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.

The paper also says two other accused officers will face lesser charges.

Mineo says he was beaten and sodomized with a foreign object after officers tried to arrest him at the Prospect Park subway station back in October. Mineo's attorneys say hospital records prove he was sodomized, and one transit officer has backed up part of Mineo's claim.

Sunday morning, Mineo's attorneys appeared on the Reverend Al Sharpton's radio show to speak out in support on their client.

They say they feel confident about the indictment and that it is coming.

"If this policeman had not come forward, we may not have been at this point, and I think the city owes this cop that broke the blue wall of silence and did his job," said Sharpton.

Sharpton said this incident is further proof that serious reform is needed in the New York City Police Department.

"Clearly police cannot police themselves," he said. "I think with a new president and a new governor that if this is not the climate for serious police reform legislation, I don't know what would be."

Mineo's attorneys said that they are planning on filing a civil suit against the city this week. They would not specify about the damages they are seeking.

The NYPD says all three officers involved in the incident have been placed on modified duty, meaning they have been stripped of their guns and shields.

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