Saturday, December 05, 2009

Officer Juan Acosta Accused of Using Badge to Help Drug Dealer

A New York City police officer has been accused of using his badge to help a friend run a cocaine-distribution operation, providing tips on which streets were lightly patrolled by officers and stealing cash from a rival drug courier in the guise of a police seizure, officials said Friday.

The officer, Juan Acosta, joined the Police Department in 2000 and had been assigned to the 43rd Precinct in the Soundview section of the Bronx until his arrest Thursday. He has resigned from the force, the police said.

Since at least 2005, Officer Acosta served as a kind of enforcer for his friend, Yorick Rafael Corneil-Perez, as they and others worked to distribute “multiple kilograms of cocaine” in and around the city, according to the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The men, both 34 and from the Bronx, have been charged with participating in a cocaine-distribution conspiracy and with conspiring to commit extortion in connection with Officer Acosta’s improper use of his authority, a statement from the office said.

According to an indictment in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Officer Acosta used a police car in mid-2005 “to rob a drug courier of several hundred thousand dollars in cash derived from a drug deal” that involved Mr. Corniel-Perez. It was a ruse to make it look as if law enforcement authorities had seized the money, but Mr. Acosta and Mr. Corniel-Perez “took the cash,” the court papers said.

In October, the court papers said, the officer, “a k a Tino,” and Mr. Corneil-Perez, also known as Rafi, “agreed to provide protection for a 10-kilogram shipment of cocaine” in a Queens meeting with someone posing as a narcotics trafficker from Colombia who was actually working as a confidential government informant. They discussed how Officer Acosta could help ensure the safe transfer of drugs from a Long Island warehouse to the Bronx.

At a meeting, on Nov. 10, Officer Acosta showed handwritten notes identifying the “police precincts in the vicinity of the Long Island warehouse and the local routes that would be less likely to be patrolled by police during transportation of the narcotics to the Bronx,” the papers said.

Two days later, the officer drove to the warehouse in a rental car and picked up a duffel bag filled with fake narcotics from a second confidential informant, the papers said. When he got back to the Bronx, he was paid $15,000 for the job, they said.

Mr. Acosta was held without bail after pleading not guilty at his arraignment on Friday before Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox.

Mr. Corneil-Perez was held without bail after his arraignment on Thursday.

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