U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(215) 861-8200
February 4, 2015

Judge Sends Former Philadelphia Police Officers to Prison for Robbery and Drug Scheme

PHILADELPHIA—Former Philadelphia Police Officers Jonathan Garcia, 26, and Sydemy Joanis, 28, both of Philadelphia, were sentenced today to 210 months and 63 months, respectively, for a scheme to rob drug dealers of their cash proceeds. Garcia pleaded guilty July 30, 2013 to distribution of heroin, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, attempted robbery, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Joanis pleaded guilty February 11, 2014 to conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, attempted robbery, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

The defendants were assigned to the 17th Police District when, in December 2009, they entered into a scheme by which they agreed to rob suspected drug dealers. Sometimes the defendants would stop and frisk individuals who were allegedly loitering, and if the defendants recovered any drugs, they would arrest the person and steal some or all of his money. Other times the defendants utilized Person #1, who, at the defendants’ direction, would meet with a suspected drug dealer inside the dealer’s car, buy a small quantity of drugs (usually crack cocaine), and then leave some of the drugs in plain view on the floorboard of the car. After Person #1 exited the dealer’s car, the defendants would pull up in their PPD patrol car, stop the dealer, and after seeing the drugs in plain view, arrest the dealer and ultimately steal some or all of the dealer’s money, which the defendants would split amongst themselves. When committing these robberies, the defendants wore their PPD uniform and openly carried firearms. To conceal their crimes, the defendants falsified police reports by failing to disclose their use of Person #1 and fabricating the basis for the stop, and by failing to disclose some or all of the money that they had stolen.

In addition to the prison terms, U.S. District Court Judge Legrome Davis ordered Garcia to pay a fine of $5,000, a special assessment of $900, and ordered five years of supervised release; Joanis was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000, a special assessment of $400, and was ordered to complete three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin R. Brenner.

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