NEW YORK, April 26 (UPI) -- A New York policeman has pleaded guilty to helping a gang rob drug dealers of $1 million in cash and more than 500 pounds of cocaine.
Prosecutors said Emmanuel Tavarez, 31, an eight-year NYPD veteran, used his badge, service weapon and stolen NYPD raid jackets as he and his heavily armed crew targeted at least 100 drug dealers in New York, Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Conn., in a 10-year crime spree, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
"Tavarez allegedly used his police badge and falsified search warrants to stage searches and seizures of narcotics traffickers during which he and other co-conspirators stole drugs and money from the traffickers," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement.
Tavarez's gang, wearing NYPD jackets and other gear, would locate a drug dealer's stash, then stage a raid as if they were police officers on official duty, prosecutors said.
Tavarez was arrested in May 2010 after a lengthy investigation into the robberies and faces a life sentence after pleading guilty Monday to robbery conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, and the use of a firearm in those crimes.
Charges have been brought against more than a dozen members of Tavarez's gang, which included four of the officer's in-laws, the Post said.