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Former police officer sentenced to 25 years for robbery and corruption

NEW YORK — A former New York City police officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday for participating in a violent robbery crew. This sentence stems from an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), with the assistance of the New York State Police, the Bridgeport (Conn.) Police Department and the Philadelphia Police Department.

On April 25, 2012, Emmanuel Tavarez, 33, pleaded guilty to robbery conspiracy, cocaine and heroin trafficking conspiracy and firearm charges.

Tavarez was a member of a violent robbery crew responsible for more than 100 robberies of narcotics traffickers in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere that netted more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in drug proceeds.

Beginning in approximately January 2001, crew members posing as law enforcement officers staged fake arrests of the traffickers and then forcibly seized the traffickers' contraband. Members of the crew restrained victims with handcuffs, rope or duct tape and often brandished firearms and physically assaulted victims. Crew members sold the stolen drugs and divided the proceeds amongst themselves.

Tavarez participated in at least eight separate robberies and attempted robberies while employed as an NYPD police officer. During these robberies and attempted robberies, Tavarez acted as a lookout and, on at least one occasion, entered a private residence with other members of the robbery crew where he brandished a firearm.