A veteran Boston police officer who agreed to protect shipments of cocaine coming into the city was sentenced yesterday to 13 years in prison.
The sentence Carlos A. Pizarro received in US District Court will be followed by five years of supervised release, according to the US attorney's office. Pizarro, 38, was the first of three former officers to be sentenced for involvement in a drug trafficking ring.
Pizarro and former officers Roberto Pulido and Nelson Carrasquillo admitted to conspiring to protect the transport and sale of 100 grams of cocaine last year for drug dealers who turned out to be undercover federal agents.
Pizarro, a 10-year veteran of the force who worked in the city's South End neighborhood, pleaded guilty in September.
"Taking all things into account . . . we think the sentence imposed was appropriate and fair," said his lawyer, R. Bradford Bailey. "Our client addressed the court himself and profusely apologized to the court, his family, and the Boston Police and informed the judge that he was ready to be held accountable for what he had done and make no excuses for it."
Bailey said Pizzaro's wife was at the sentencing; he is also the father of two children, ages 6 and 10. Pizarro could have faced up to 24 years in prison, but the reduced sentence was part of an agreement with prosecutors that required him to give the government a detailed account of his criminal involvement and forfeit the $17,000 he was paid to protect the drugs.
"The sentence imposed today reflects an important consensus that corrupt police are among society's worst offenders," US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said in a statement. "They corrode the public's faith in our system of justice, they create mistrust in the communities they were sworn to serve, and they tarnish the badge so many good officers wear proudly."
In June 2006, Pizarro and the two other officers guided a truck which they thought was carrying a shipment of cocaine worth about $2 million to a commercial garage in Boston.
Pizarro provided surveillance of the garage while a second truck came to pick up the drugs. He then guided the truck out of the city, according to the US attorney's office.
About two weeks later, the officers traveled to Miami to meet with men they believed were cocaine dealers. They were paid for their services and took money to protect a future shipment. They were arrested by federal agents after receiving the payment.
Pulido and Carrasquillo pleaded guilty soon after the start of their trials last month. Both are scheduled to be sentenced in February.
Officer Edgardo Rodriguez pleaded guilty last month to conspiring with Pulido to distribute steroids. He will be sentenced in February.
During Pulido's trial, allegations arose about other officers hosting illegal after-hours gambling parties, prompting Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis to vow to investigate other possible corruption.
"The Boston Police Department is gratified with today's sentencing," said Elaine Driscoll, a department spokeswoman. "We trust that the individuals involved will be punished to the full extent of the law for their criminal activity and also their betrayal of the city of Boston."