A Brooklyn federal judge Wednesday handed down a stiff 25-year sentence to former city cop Emmanuel Tavarez, of Deer Park, for joining a crew that robbed drug dealers, tongue-lashing the ex-officer for claiming he was forced to do it by an accomplice.
"The assertion is preposterous, arrogant and insulting to this court," U.S. District Judge Sandra Townes told Tavarez, 32. "You were not being forced. You acted out of greed, not duress."
Tavarez, an eight-year NYPD veteran, pleaded guilty last year to robbery conspiracy, drug trafficking and firearm charges. He was accused of participating in at least eight drug robberies, including one on Long Island, for a crew headed by his brother-in-law that carried out more than 100 drug thefts in four states.
Prosecutors said he acted as a lookout, supplied police paraphernalia to crew members, including handcuffs and NYPD raid jackets, used his gun in one robbery, and on another occasion loaned his gun to another member of the crew.
Tavarez, at hearings last month, tearfully claimed that he had to participate because his brother-in-law threatened to do violence to his sister if he didn't help with the robberies. "I just didn't have a way out once this happened," he told Townes Wednesday. "I just didn't know what to do."
But the judge said that by his own admission, he had participated in one job before the threat was even made, and said his claim was belied by his acceptance of thousands of dollars as his share of the crimes and his access to the NYPD where he worked for help.
"Your criminal actions would be very serious no matter who committed them, but you were in a position of trust," she said. "You took an oath to protect and serve the people of New York."