Ex-police officer in Puerto Rico sentenced to 30 years for helping drug gang

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a former Puerto Rican police officer to 30 years in prison for assisting a trafficking operation that distributed drugs out of a Bronx daycare.

William Vazquez Baez, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a racketeering conspiracy and one count of participating in a conspiracy to commit murder for hire. In addition to the jail time, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman sentenced Vazquez Baez to three years of supervised release.


"William Vazquez Baez abused his position as a police officer to help a vicious drug organization distribute massive amounts of cocaine and massacre citizens he had sworn to protect. Today Vazquez-Baez was rightly sentenced to 30 years in prison for his horrific crimes," said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York.

Federal prosecutors said from about 2004 until about 2016, Vazquez Baez helped the drug gang known as La Onu by protecting their territory and trade through "numerous" acts of violence. The group allegedly paid Vazquez Baez a salary to use his position as a police officer to provide them drugs and intelligence, and assist their efforts to transport drugs and avoid police activity.


The U.S. attorney's office said in 2006 or 2007, Vazquez Baez notified La Onu that a local resident, Freddy Mendez Rivera, complained to police about their drug activity in his neighborhood. Members of La Onu then kidnapped and killed Mendez Rivera.

Prosecutors also said La Onu paid Vazquez Baez to help gang members kill another man, Anthony Castro Carrillo, in 2007 by storming his residence and shooting him to death while dressed as police officers.

Finally, Vazquez Baez was also accused of taking a confidential informant in his custody to members of La Onu pretending to be police officers. The gang members then shot the informant to death, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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