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Former NYPD officer pleads guilty to federal narcotics, robbery and firearm charges

Robberies netted more than $1 million in drug proceeds and 250 kilograms of cocaine

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A former officer with the New York Police Department (NYPD) pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy charges of robbery and narcotics distribution and the use of a firearm in carrying out these crimes, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Emmanuel Tavarez, 31, of Deer Park, N.Y., was a member of a violent crew, which was responsible for more than 100 armed robberies of narcotics traffickers in the New York metropolitan area. The robberies netted more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in drug proceeds.

An eight-year veteran of the NYPD and most recently assigned to the department's Housing Bureau Viper Unit in Queens, N.Y., Tavarez was arrested by federal agents May 5. He was alleged to have used his police badge and phony search warrants to set up searches and seizures of narcotics traffickers.

It was during one of these staged searches that he and other co-conspirators stole drugs and money. During one robbery, Tavarez restrained a victim with handcuffs that he obtained through his employment as a police officer. He also secured NYPD raid jackets and other equipment for the crew so that they would appear to be authentic members of law enforcement.

This investigation was carried out by HSI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the NYPD. The New York State Police and the police departments in Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Conn., also assisted.

The government's case is being prosecuted in the Eastern District of New York by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Meyer, Sylvia Shweder, and Alexander Solomon. The guilty plea was entered before U.S. Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky. When sentenced on July 29, Tavarez faces a maximum term of life in prison.