Veteran Cop, County Worker Arrested for Tipping Off Dealer
NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) _ A police officer and a county affirmative action director have been charged with giving drug dealers information about police undercover operations in exchange for cocaine and marijuana, officials said Wednesday.
Haverstraw officials had even considered promoting the 16-year police veteran, Victor Nieves, 46, of Monroe, from community affairs and youth officer to detective and putting him in charge of finding out why the undercover operations were failing.
″These actions could have led to the deaths of police officers,″ said Rockland County District Attorney Kenneth Gribetz. ″This could have led literally to acts of murder of police officers who were engaged in undercover activities.″
Nieves was arrested Tuesday night along with Luis Del Pilar, 40, of West Haverstraw, Rockland’s affirmative action director. Their activities were uncovered by court-ordered wiretaps in the course of a six-month probe, authorities said.
Both were charged with hindering prosecution and criminal facilitation and were being held on $10,000 bond after arraignment Tuesday night.
Authorities said the men supplied dealers with the time and location of the execution of search warrants and arrest warrants by the Rockland County Narcotic Task Force. They also performed license-plate checks on vehicles being used by undercover officers and illegally used the New York State Police Information Network to try to identify and verify the vehicles driven by undercover officers, authorities said.
Del Pilar is accused of using his official capacity to gain access to personnel files to learn identities of undercover officers.
Gribetz said over the past few years law enforcement officials had become increasingly concerned over the lack of success of undercover operations in Haverstraw, north of New York City.
The wiretaps were placed on the phone of Luis Jerez, 39, of Pomona, described by Gribetz as a ″large-scale street dealer.″
The other wiretaps were placed in the offices of the Juvenile Aid Bureau in the Haverstraw Police Department.
In five weeks, Jerez received 2,500 calls, said Gribetz.
″It became very clear that Nieves ... and Del Pilar ... were supplying critical information to Jerez,″ said Gribetz.
Jerez was held in lieu of $1 million in Arapahoe County Jail in Arapahoe, Colo., after he was arrested at his girlfriend’s home in Aurora, Colo.
He was charged with selling cocaine and conspiracy.
Gribetz said he hoped the arrests would allow law enforcement officials to ″make a dent″ in narcotic trafficking in the area.
Gribetz would not say whether any other officials may have been involved, but said the investigation was continuing.
Both Nieves, one of four Hispanics on the 26-member force, and Del Pilar were considered role models for the Hispanic community, which accounts for about half Haverstraw’s population of 10,000 people, said Mayor Frank Haera.
″The kids in this town are going to be so disappointed,′ said Carmen Lopez, president of La Flor, the Latin American Feminine League of Rockland. ″He (Nieves) is their idol. It’s like Kennedy dying.″
Police Chief Michael Holland described Nieves as ″an excellent police officer.″
″Victor was an officer we trusted. There’s tremendous upset in the force and in the town,″ Holland said.