Former New York City Police Officer Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to More Than 11 Years in Prison for Drug, Extortion, and Firearms Offenses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 22, 2010|
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, GEORGE VENIZELOS, the Acting Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today that JUAN ACOSTA, an active-duty police officer with the New York City Police Department ("NYPD") until the time of his arrest, was sentenced to 135 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy involving cocaine distribution and extortion under color of official right, and for unlawfully possessing a firearm in furtherance of those crimes. ACOSTA was also ordered to pay an $80,000 fine and to forfeit $15,000 as proceeds of his crimes. United States District Judge SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN imposed the sentence today in Manhattan federal court.
According to the Indictment and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
Until his arrest in November 2009, ACOSTA had been employed as an NYPD police officer since March 2000, and had most recently been assigned to patrol duty in the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx, New York. From about 2005 through November of 2009, ACOSTA conspired with co-defendant YORICK RAFAEL CORNIEL-PEREZ, a/k/a "Rafi," to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine in and around New York City. In addition, ACOSTA abused his authority as a police officer to facilitate his and CORNIEL-PEREZ's illegal cocaine trafficking activities. In mid-2005, for example, ACOSTA used an NYPD car to rob a drug courier of several hundred thousand dollars in cash from a drug deal with CORNIEL-PEREZ, making it appear as if the money had been seized by law enforcement when, in truth and in fact, ACOSTA and CORNIEL-PEREZ took the cash.
In October of 2009, ACOSTA and CORNIEL-PEREZ met on several occasions with a person whom they believed to be a highlevel narcotics trafficker from Colombia, but who was in fact a cooperating witness with the Government. ACOSTA and CORNIELPEREZ agreed to provide protection for a 10-kilogram shipment of cocaine which was to be transported from Long Island to the Bronx. ACOSTA boasted of his status as a police officer and how it would help facilitate the transaction, and also identified the location of police precincts and the local routes that would be less likely patrolled by the police during the transportation of the narcotics to the Bronx. Ultimately, on November 12, 2009, ACOSTA personally transported what he believed to be the 10kilogram cocaine shipment from Long Island to the Bronx, where he received payment of $15,000 from the cooperating witness.
Mr. BHARARA praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau.
This case is being handled by the Office's Public Corruption Unit and Violent Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys RUA KELLY, MARISSA MOLÉ, and PAUL KRIEGER are in charge of the prosecution.