In what sounds like the plot of a Hollywood crime flick, Monica Garcia, a 23-year-old Police officer from El Paso, Texas, was arrested on Friday for allegedly aiding a local drug distributor in carrying out his criminal endeavors.
Garcia, along with 44-year-old Fred Saenz, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premise, and conspiracy to unlawfully use a communication facility. Saenz has also been charged with a single count of possession with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine.
"Although this is an isolated case, the charged conduct still unfairly tarnishes the proud reputation of the thousands of law enforcement officers in the El Paso area who put their lives on the line every day to protect our residents and their communities, " said Kyle Williamson, DEA Special Agent in Charge, in a statement.
Misusing Legal Powers
The court records state that on Nov. 10, 2020, the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) and carry out two search warrants at two residences located in different parts of El Paso which were used by Saenz to traffic drugs. Officers and DEA agents seized around 1.2 kilograms of cocaine from one residence and
Upon further investigation, the authorities learnt that Garcia had been using her law enforcement credentials with EPPD to conduct counter-surveillance activities for Saenz. This also included verifying license plates of vehicles that were linked to undercover operations.
Potentially Long Stints In Prison
If convicted, the charge of conspiracy to unlawfully use a communication facility can result in up to four years in federal prison. Also, a term of up to 20 years in federal prison accompanies a conviction under the charge of conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premise. Garcia could spend up to 20 years in prison if convicted for drug-related charges. A conviction for drug-related charges could send Saenz to federal prison for a term between five and 40 years.
"The men and women of the El Paso Police Department are dedicated to serving the community and are appalled at the actions of this individual. Every officer takes an oath and I want to ensure the community that any officer who violates that oath will be dealt with sternly and swiftly. We also thank DEA for their cooperation in investigating this case," expressed Greg Allen, El Paso Police Chief.