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Former Dominican federal officer sentenced to federal prison for drug and robbery crimes

PHILADELPHIA - A former federal police officer in the Dominican Republic was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and seven months in prison for attempting to commit robbery and drug trafficking crimes, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Harold Martinez, 32, of Bronx, N.Y., was convicted in February by a federal jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He was found guilty on multiple felony counts including attempting and committing robbery that interfered with interstate commerce; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; obstruction of justice; and aiding and abetting.

"This lengthy prison sentence highlights the risks and penalties awaiting those who engage in the types of illegal activity carried out by the defendant," said John Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. "Preventing these crimes from occurring is a priority for ICE HSI and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe and secure."

According to the federal criminal complaint filed in September 2009, HSI agents became aware that several individuals were conspiring to rob a narcotics "stash house" located in the Philadelphia area. The robbery would take place after a Mexican drug trafficking organization delivered a shipment of cocaine to the home.

Court documents describe how the conspirators planned the robbery during a series of secret meetings in New York City. Martinez was a member of the conspiracy and he served as a lookout and driver for the group.

After Martinez' arrest, law enforcement searched his gray Lincoln Town Car and discovered several items that could be used to carry out a robbery including a pair of bolt cutters, three pairs of gloves, some large screw drivers, and a steel baseball bat. Other vehicles involved in the crime contained similar items and a firearm.

At the conclusion of his prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez stated that Martinez would be deported from the United States. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Crawley. The Pennsylvania State Police and the Philadelphia Police Department assisted ICE HSI in the investigation.