Cop added insult to injury, she says

Posted: February 23, 2009

OFFICER JEFFREY Cujdik was the first cop to burst through the front door, gun drawn.

Lady Gonzalez froze. Terror gripped her five young children as Cujdik and eight other narcotics cops stormed the Kensington home.

" 'Where are the guns?! Where are the drugs!' " Cujdik shouted during the December 2007 raid, Gonzalez said. "I didn't know what they were talking about."

Then things got worse. Gonzalez said that one of the cops - not Cujdik - pulled up her shirt and bra and fondled her breasts.

The raid was prompted by a drug buy at the house three days earlier, according to a search warrant.

A police informant bought a packet of cocaine from Gonzalez's husband, Albert Nunez, on their front porch while Officer Robert McDonnell watched, according to the warrant.

But that informant, Ventura Martinez, now says that the search warrant was based on a lie: He never bought drugs from Nunez.

Cujdik is at the center of a joint federal and local investigation that arose after Martinez claimed in a Daily News article that Cujdik told him to lie about some drug buys so that the officer could obtain search warrants to enter homes of suspected drug dealers.

Nunez's case - one of hundreds under scrutiny - could thrust McDonnell into the burgeoning probe.

Cujdik and McDonnell worked together in the Narcotics Field Unit. Cujdik is now on desk duty, his gun and badge taken, police said.

Reached last night, McDonnell politely declined to comment.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News earlier this month, Martinez - known as Confidential Informant #103 - said that both he and Cujdik were driven in part by financial gain.

The Police Department paid Martinez for drug buys and for tips leading to arrests. Martinez said that he gave at least $20,000 in informant cash to Cujdik for rent on a Kensington house that Martinez and his family leased from Cujdik between September 2005 and Jan. 30 of this year.

Cujdik's attorney, George Bochetto, has said the allegations are untrue and are based on the word of a "professional liar."

Last week, Nunez's attorney, Jeremy Ibrahim, filed a motion aimed at getting Martinez on the witness stand. Ibrahim cited the Daily News articles and said that "a dark cloud has been cast over the law and Constitution."

"Both Mr. McDonnell and Informant #103 are suspect," Ibrahim wrote in his motion. A judge has yet to rule.

Martinez told the Daily News that he wasn't even with McDonnell on the day of the alleged drug buy from Nunez. At an earlier court hearing, McDonnell said that he had "eyes on the informant" the entire time.

Martinez said that not all his jobs were tainted. In a recent interview, he said that he didn't buy any cocaine on Nunez's block, but he did buy marijuana at a house a few doors down.

"That's a good job," Martinez said, explaining that Cujdik gained access to that house legitimately.

Nunez, 32, a truck driver, is accused of drug dealing after Cujdik discovered 47 packets of cocaine in a teddy bear during the raid that frightened his wife, Lady Gonzalez, according to court testimony.

"They used my name to get in there," Martinez said.

Nunez admits he had a small amount of marijuana, which police found in a kitchen cabinet, but insists he never had or sold cocaine.

"I do smoke marijuana - that I do," Nunez said last week. "I'm not going to lie about that."

The cocaine? "I was like, 'Get out,' " Nunez said. "I couldn't believe it. I got five kids. I love them to death. I wouldn't keep stuff like that in the house."

Nunez's wife was home alone with the kids when police raided the house. One cop took her kids, crying and screaming, to a neighbor's house.

Another cop, whom Gonzalez described as average height and "husky," led her into a small room off the kitchen. She heard other cops stomping around upstairs, she said.

He asked her if she had any tattoos. She told him she had one on her lower back. " 'I want to see,' " she said that he told her.

He pushed her jeans down to reveal the "crack of my ass" and a tattoo of the Puerto Rican flag, she recalled. " 'Mmm, a Puerto Rican,' " he said, according to Gonzalez, 29, a block captain.

He spun her around, unzipped her blue jacket, and lifted up her shirt and bra, she said.

"He totally just touched my breasts," she said. "I just thought it was wrong. . .I was scared. I was in a panic. . .I thought he was going to rape me."

The cops ransacked the tidy house for more than three hours, she said. They didn't find anything more than her husband's dime bag of weed. But Cujdik decided to check the back room off the kitchen one last time, she said.

"As soon as he went back there, he said, 'I got it!' " Gonzalez said.

He emerged with a teddy bear that he said contained a small pouch secreted inside. That pouch contained 47 packets of cocaine.

Police also seized $560 from a bedroom dresser, McDonnell testified.

Gonzalez and Nunez swear they had roughly $1,000, mostly in large bills, that they'd squirreled away for rent and Christmas presents.

The cop who allegedly fondled her took a house key, Gonzalez said. " 'I'll come back,' " Gonzalez said he warned her. " 'We'll come back every day, every night, until we find [Nunez].' "

Police also seized Nunez's truck. Neighbors told the Daily News that hours later they saw two cops from the raid riding in Nunez's white truck with its unmistakable gray flames painted on the hood, music blaring.

Gonzalez said that she had been reluctant to talk about the alleged sexual assault but changed her mind.

"It's gotta come to a stop because I might not be the first one and I might not be the last one," Gonzalez said.

"I think of him. I dream of him. I can't get his face out of my head. Still, till this day, I think he's going to come back."

She said that she chose not to report the incident to Police Internal Affairs because she didn't think they'd believe her and might even retaliate.

"I don't trust them," she said as she wiped a tear from the corner of her eye.

"I'm sorry, but why am I going to report this to a police officer when a police officer stood in front of me and molested me?" she asked.

Nunez said that he's pained when he thinks about what happened to his wife and children. "It makes me want to cry," he said.

"If you're going to be a cop, do it professionally," Nunez said. "You're saying guys out here are the bad guys, but what are you?

"What are you?"

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