Ex-officer convicted of tipping relative to drug probe

Posted: December 05, 2013

A former Philadelphia police officer faces up to 20 years in prison after his conviction Monday on charges of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.

Rafael Cordero, 52, denied accusations that he tipped off his half-brother, a drug dealer and one-time FBI informant, about a heroin trafficking investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

But a jury took only hours to find the 23-year veteran of the force guilty of six of the counts against him. The panel acquitted Cordero of one count of obstruction tied to $20,000 in drug money he allegedly hid in his home for his brother.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCarthy described the funds as drug proceeds that Cordero's half-brother, David Garcia, earned while working for one of Kensington's largest drug-trafficking organizations.

Cordero, she said, also leaked sensitive information about the investigation, including the location of a pole camera agents installed to monitor the group's headquarters.

Throughout the five-day trial the former officer's attorney, Jack McMahon Jr., maintained that his client was told that his brother earned the money in question legitimately and that he planned to use it to buy a house and turn his life around.

Cordero only gave sensitive law enforcement information to Garcia because he believed the man was still working as a government informant, said McMahon.

"This is not a bad cop. This is not a rogue," the lawyer said. "This is a cop that always made good choices, sound choices."

After Monday's verdict, U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond ordered Cordero held until sentencing March 3.


jroebuck@phillynews.com

215-925-2649

@jeremyrroebuck

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