Friday, June 3, 2011
2 former Pima County deputies indicted for stealing drugs, money
TUCSON - Two former Pima County Sheriff's deputies have been indicted in federal court for a conspiracy to steal money and narcotics from alleged drug trafficking organizations.
The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, alleges that Francisco J. Jimenez, Jr., used his position at Pima County Sheriff's Department and his patrol car in the commission of several offenses. The indictment also alleges that Miguel Arvizu, a former Pima County Sheriff's deputy, assisted Jimenez and his other co-conspirators in stealing drugs and drug sale proceeds.
"This Deputy Sheriff -- and his co-conspirator who is a former Deputy - dove head-first into the illegal drug trade and fomented an outrageous breach of the public's trust," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. "The public must be able to rely on their sworn officers of the law to protect and serve. That is why this office and our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation will aggressively investigate and prosecute public corruption wherever we find it."
The indictment alleges that on June 26, 2010, Arvizu arranged a traffic stop on a vehicle that that purportedly contained drug proceeds, according to court documents. Jimenez allegedly stole $4,000 from the car's glove compartment, and later gave Arvizu a portion of the money.
On October 8, Jimenez searched a vehicle parked at the Tucson Mall that purportedly contained drug proceeds, and stole another $4,000 from the glove compartment.
On November 24, Arvizu arranged for Jimenez to provide "security" while co-conspirators broke into a storage facility in Green Valley and allegedly stole controlled substances and drug proceeds, according to court documents.
Arvizu has been charged with eight counts, including: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, theft of government money and property, attempted distribution of three kilograms of cocaine, attempted possession with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, and assaulting a person having lawful charge, custody, and control of money and other property of the United States, with the intent to rob, steal, and purloin said money and property of the United States.
The counts against Jimenez include: one conspiracy count, three counts of theft of government money, and with attempted possession with the intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.
"The unsealing of today's indictment is the culmination of a collective effort by the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the United States Attorney's Office," said John Strong, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Division. "Whenever a law enforcement officer or former law enforcement officer abuses their authority for personal gain it erodes the public's trust. Public Corruption is a top priority of the FBI and we remain vigilant in our pursuit of those who taint their badges."