Former San Juan Police Department Officer Convicted for Role in Providing Security for Drug Transactions
|U.S. Department of Justice March 22, 2012|
WASHINGTON—A former officer with the San Juan, Puerto Rico Municipal Police Department was convicted by a federal jury yesterday for his role in providing security for drug transactions, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa E. Rodriguez-Velez of the District of Puerto Rico, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph S. Campbell of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.
Arcadio Hernandez-Soto, 35, was convicted in San Juan of three counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, four counts of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and four counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction. Hernandez-Soto was charged in an indictment unsealed on October 6, 2010, along with 89 law enforcement officers in Puerto Rico and 44 other individuals, as part of the FBI undercover operation known as Guard Shack.
According to the evidence presented in court, Hernandez-Soto provided security for what he believed were illegal cocaine deals on May 8, 2009; June 4, 2009; July 23, 2009; and July 13, 2010, but which in fact were part of the undercover FBI operation. According to information presented at trial, Amaro-Santiago was employed as a member of the San Juan Police Department but acted as a security guard for what he believed were cocaine deals by frisking the buyer, providing protection for the deal, and escorting the buyer in and out of the transaction. Information presented at trial also showed that Hernandez-Soto recruited other police officers to participate in the second, third, and fourth deals.
In return for the security he provided, Amaro-Santiago received a cash payment of between $2,000 and $3,000 for each transaction.
U.S. District Judge Carmen C. Cerezo did not schedule a sentencing date. At sentencing, Hernandez-Soto faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and Richard B. Evans of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the FBI. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico also participated in the investigation and prosecution of this case.