Cop Gets 15 Years for Conspiring with Crack Dealer

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A police officer who protected a crack dealer has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, bank fraud and obstruction of justice.

Luis Batista, 37, was hired by the New York Police Department in 1997, working first as an undercover officer in Manhattan, then as a precinct detective in the Williamburg, Brooklyn-area 90th Precinct. During his early days on the job, he befriended Virgilio “Checo” Hiciano, a large-scale cocaine and crack dealer—and began feeding him information that would help him avoid arrest.

Hiciano ran a drug dealing enterprise that was just a stone’s throw from a public school, and held control over the block with the help of his police officer friend. Batista warned the dealer of impending police actions. The two friends reportedly went out dancing and drinking together at Latin music clubs, even celebrating when Batista was promoted to detective.

Batista only asked Hiciano that no drug deals be conducted in front of him, as a matter of “respect.”

In 2006, after suspected that he might be the target of an internal investigation, Batista convinced a member of the New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau to obtain a copy of the investigation report. Sergeant Henry Conde, the officer whom Batista approached, testified during the trial that he had revealed that Batista was under investigation for reportedly having sex with multiple women and using cocaine in a Brooklyn hotel. Conde also said that although he knew obtaining the report was against police department regulations, he wasn’t aware that it was illegal.

Batista later tried to spin his relationship with Hiciano by claiming the dealer was a confidential source, and by trying to convince his supervisor to back him up.

The supervisor, however, was aiding the Internal Affairs department by wearing a wire and recording hours’ worth of conversations with Batista.

Haciano has pled guilty to narcotics and firearms charges, but has not yet been sentenced. He did testify aginst Batista at trial.

Batista was found guilty by a federal jury, in October, of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, obstruction of justice and bank fraud. The bank fraud charges stem from Batista’s having forged mortgage documents in order to help his brother obtain a mortgage and a home in Nassau County. Last week, Batista was sentenced to 15 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Dora L. Irizarry.

 

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