Former top cop "Carlos" Danny Castro once hoped to lead the Philadelphia Police Department. Now he's headed to prison, despite his own pleas for leniency, his mother's and that of former jurors and various community members, including Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez.
"For me it was very painful," Quinones-Sanchez said, when asked what the atmosphere was like in the courtroom. "I testified after his mother and it was a very moving testimony to the experience of a Puerto Rican family and a Puerto Rican mother working hard, despite the community conditions to raise her children and provide opportunities for them."
The former police inspector was sentenced to five years in prison.
The 48-year-old was convicted of lying to federal officials. But a jury deadlocked on eight of 10 counts at his trial. Castro then entered a guilty plea for conspiracy to commit extortion and that's what he was sentenced for on Tuesday.
Three jurors were among those asking the judge for leniency. They called Castro a good man who succumbed to outside pressure. Quinones-Sanchez, who has known Castro for twenty years, said Castro had a lapse in judgement, but "who I believe should not go to jail but come back to the community and do community service, use this as a potential teaching moment for young people, and to continue to serve the community in another capacity."
Castro's crime involved his effort to get back $90,000 he invested in a soured real-estate deal.
He agreed to an offer to use force to collect the debt. But the offer came from an FBI informant.