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Former Officer Found Guilty for Conspiracy to Deprive a Person of Civil Rights

By on February 29, 2016

SAN JUAN – On Feb. 26, former Puerto Rico Police Officer Francisco Martínez Mercado was found guilty of conspiracy to deprive a person of his civil rights, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced Monday.  

On Sept. 15, 2015, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Martínez Mercado for the offense committed on or about Sept. 23, 2010, when he threatened a person who was exercising their right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. At the time of the offense, Martínez Mercado was in the Puerto Rico Police assigned as a Task Force Officer to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

During the five-day trial, the government presented evidence proving that on Sept. 23, 2010, the defendant hired police officers and others to break into a home and steal property. U.S. District Judge Francisco A. Besosa presided over the trial.

“Corrupt public employees undermine the fabric of our nation’s security, our overall safety, the public trust and confidence in those chosen to protect and serve,” Rodríguez Vélez said in a statement Monday.

The defendant faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The sentencing hearing was scheduled for May 26. The case was investigated by the FBI’s San Juan Division with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Miami Field Office.

U.S. District Judge Francisco A. Besosa presided over the trial.

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