Former Boston police officer Robert "Kiko" Pulido says he was pumped full of steroids when he suggested to undercover agents in Atlantic City that he knew a good way to transport cocaine into Boston.
And when he bragged about a nonexistent 51-year-old brother doing federal time after being caught with 300 kilos of cocaine. And when he told them his 74-year-old mother could detect an undercover narcotics agent.
In a phone interview from a New Hampshire jail, Pulido acknowledged his role in one of the biggest police scandals in Boston history, a scheme to ship cocaine into the city. But as Pulido admitted guilt, he tried to salvage his reputation, saying that a steroid addiction made him exaggerate many of the statements that were caught on FBI surveillance tapes.
Much of what was captured on the tapes, he said, was pure fantasy. In his mind at the time, he said, he was a stand-up police officer playing a role in a real-life Hollywood blockbuster. He said he even recited lines from "Training Day," a movie about a corrupt police officer, that were captured on the tapes.
"Anyone that knows me knows that I was acting," Pulido said. "It was puffery."
Pulido pleaded guilty Thursday, the fourth day of his trial in US District Court, to charges that he conspired to ship more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and 1 kilogram of heroin. He pleaded no contest to carrying a gun in a drug trafficking crime. The 10-year police veteran, who resigned from the force, now faces a prison sentence of 15 years to life when he is sentenced Feb. 6.
His coconspirators in the case, Nelson Carrasquillo and Carlos Pizarro, both former officers, have pleaded guilty.
In the interview, Pulido's first public remarks since his arrest last year, he attempted to shift some of the blame for his crimes to his employer, the Boston Police Department. Pulido said he wished that Police Department officials had offered him substance-abuse treatment for steroids before he agreed to enlist the help of two fellow officers and guard a shipment of 140 kilograms of cocaine as part of the FBI sting.
"They knew it was an addiction for me, but they continued to let me patrol the streets," he said. "They didn't offer us any help, any counseling."
His soft voice during the interview differed considerably from the swaggering, expletive-spewing Pulido on the surveillance tapes played during his trial.
Police officials strongly disputed his comments.
"Roberto Pulido is a disgrace," department spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. "He can make all the excuses he wants, but it's nonsense. We look forward to his sentencing and his subsequent lengthy imprisonment."
Pulido received treatment in 1999, when he tested positive for cocaine, Driscoll said. She declined to say whether officials knew about subsequent drug use or why he did not receive treatment for steroids.
Pulido said he would have repudiated his statements on the tapes if he had taken the stand in his trial, but said he had to enter a plea to avoid the risk of a sentence of 30 years to life, if a jury had convicted him.
When the FBI investigation began in 2003, Pulido said, he was using and dealing illegal steroids. His childhood friend from Jamaica Plain, Troy Lozano, agreed to be an informant in the federal probe and secretly recorded hours and hours of conversations with Pulido over the next three years in which he talked about and agreed to participate in bigger and bigger criminal schemes.
In the recordings, Pulido implicated other officers, including some who are currently on the force. Pulido now says that he was lying about at least one of them, Sergeant Mark Vickers, who he had told undercover agents was running illegal gambling parties.
"Vickers did nothing," Pulido maintained in the interview. "He did not do anything illegal."
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis has vowed a thorough investigation of officers implicated by Pulido and his cohorts.
Pulido, a 42-year-old father of six, is incarcerated at the Strafford County jail in Dover, N.H. Every Sunday, family and friends visit him for an hour. He won a push-up contest with other inmates. He calls his fiancee and his sister every day.
During the interview Monday evening, several of the most important women in Pulido's life sat in the living room of the Jamaica Plain home where he grew up, staring at photos of the disgraced officer and sifting through news clippings, from the scandal that undid him and from earlier, happier times, when he was considered a hero in the neighborhood and a brave officer by some of his former colleagues on the force.
Now, police ignore the family, they said.
"Officers who used to visit this house, who used to eat at this house, who used to watch movies at this house, they see us on the street and pretend like they don't know who we are," said Pulido's 38-year-old sister, Alicia. "That's when you find out who your real friends are. That's when you find out who your family is."
Alicia was surrounded by family photos, her two daughters, her mother, and her brother's 7-year-old daughter. Also in the room were Roslyn Williams, the mother of the 7-year-old girl, and Pulido's fiancee, Evelyn Reinoso.
The family is almost broke, they said. Their request for a court-appointed lawyer was denied, and they had to pay $40,000 in legal fees. The financial strain caused them to lose Pulido's house in Hyde Park, and they are on the verge of losing his house in Florida.
"I'm paying two mortgages," Alicia Pulido said.
The family remains hopeful that information will emerge that will help repair Pulido's reputation and shorten his sentence.
"Everything will be cleared up," said his mother, Adelaida Pulido, hugging her black shawl around her shoulders. "I have a lot of faith in God."
As for Pulido, he said he is taking things one day at a time.
"I'm doing a lot better," he said. "I've got God in my heart. I'm doing a lot better than I was."
Maria Cramer contributed to this report. Donovan Slack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.