NBC10 - Doug Shimell
U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger held a press conference to announce that officers Jonathan Garcia and Sydemy Joanis conspired to rob suspected drug dealers of their money while on active duty. NBC10's Doug Shimell reports with the latest.
Two former Philadelphia Police officers are now on the other side of the law after they allegedly robbed drug dealers while still on-duty.
Investigators say Jonathan Garcia, 23, and Sydemy Joanis, 27, both of Philadelphia, repeatedly robbed drug dealers while working as police officers in the 17th District, between December 2009 and June 19, 2012.
According to an indictment released on Tuesday against the two officers, Garcia and Joanis used a confidential source to help them in their robberies. Investigators say the two officers gave money to their source and instructed him to buy drugs from suspected drug dealers. The officers allegedly told their source to then leave a small amount of the drugs he purchased inside the cars of the dealers.
Police say the two officers would then perform traffic stops on the drug dealers after their source left. The two officers would find the drugs purposefully left behind by their source and then conduct searches inside the vehicles, according to investigators. The officers would then arrest the drug dealers and steal some or all of the money that they recovered, according to officials. Police also say Garcia and Joanis compensated their source with money and narcotics.
Garcia, who was a three year veteran of the force, was arrested on June 20, 2012 after he allegedly sold bundles of heroin to a source cooperating with the FBI. He was officially dismissed from the police force on July 19, 2012. After an internal investigation, Joanis was also officially dismissed on March 30 and arrested Tuesday morning.
Both officers are charged with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, carrying firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and other related offenses. Garcia is also charged with heroin distribution stemming from his arrest last summer.
“We will continue to aggressively pursue any officer that commits criminal acts to rid the Department of individuals who don’t belong,” said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “Corrupt cops don't represent the honor or integrity that our Department or Law Enforcement stands for; therefore, they will be held accountable at the highest level."
From 2009 to 2012, police say 43 officers in Philadelphia have been charged with corruption as part of a crackdown on crooked cops.
“I consider this a good day,” said Ramsey. “Any day you can rid the department of a bad cop is a good day.”