Federal prosecutors Thursday announced an indictment against an NYPD detective charged with taking bribes from robbers targeting Asians to protect them from federal prosecution, reports the New York Post.
Saul Arismendy De La Cruz, 31, is accused of helping Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez and his crew to evade arrest in exchange for accepting bribes from 2017 to 2022.
The men are accused of going after primarily Asian small business owners in dozens of home robberies in New York and throughout the country.
De La Cruz has already been suspended without pay, according to the Post, but on other accusations. He is being investigated by federal authorities over his alleged involvement in an off-duty shooting.
De La Cruz along with Edwin Luciano Rodriguez-Genao, Santiago Xavier Maldonado, and Diego Muelas Gonzales were arrested Thursday morning and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy, according to the Department of Justice.
Soto-Ramirez is accused of being the ringleader in the robbery scheme and remains on the loose.
“As alleged, this crew stole substantial quantities of cash and valuables from dozens of families in New York and across the country, predominantly targeting Asian American small business owners. And, as alleged, they bribed an NYPD detective in an attempt to get away with it. Corruption, violence, and racially targeted crime are intolerable, and this Office stands with our law enforcement partners in the fight against all three. Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez, the alleged leader of this violent crew, remains at large. We encourage anyone who may have additional information regarding Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez’s whereabouts to please call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in a statement.
The indictment alleges that between 2017 and 2022, Soto-Ramirez plotted a series of residential burglaries and home invasion robberies. The majority of the victims were Asian Americans and many were small business owners. They allegedly stole money, jewelry and other properties in homes across the country.
Prosecutors say Rodriguez-Genao, Maldonado and Muela-Gonzalez used false identification, bank fraud and laundered theft proceeds in their scheme.
“Violent criminal acts like the type alleged today are a disgrace,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “When such behavior involves a former police officer who shamelessly exploits their position of power for personal gain, it erodes public trust in law enforcement and tarnishes the reputations of the many thousands of women and men who honorably serve New Yorkers each day. There will always be zero tolerance in the NYPD for corruption of any kind. And our investigators, in close partnership with all of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, will continue to ensure that it is punished to the fullest extent possible.”
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