An allegedly rogue Philadelphia police officer indicted Wednesday on federal drug and gun charges could soon face new charges.
Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Thursday that Jonathan Garcia, 23, who worked in the 17th police district in South Philadelphia, also robbed a confidential informant whom he believed was a drug dealer.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Brenner said prosecutors “anticipated” adding robbery and gun charges in connection with an offense committed on June 19.The new filing comes as Garcia, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of distributing heroin and using a firearm in futherance of a drug trafficking crime, faces a bail hearing in federal magistrate court on Friday.
On June 19, the FBI informant advised Garcia that the informant knew an individual who was selling OxyContin pills for $30 each, court papers said. Garcia allegedly instructed the confidential informant to buy three pills from the individual and to leave two of the pills on the floor of the individual’s vehicle.
Unbeknownst to Garcia, the individual selling OxyContin was a second FBI informant, and the FBI planted 100 OxyContin pills and $2,500 in pre-recorded funds in the center console of second informant’s vehicle.
After following Garcia’s instructions, the court filing said Garcia and another officer, while on duty, illegally pulled the second informant’s car over, illegally searched it and illegally arrested the person.
Following the arrest, Garcia returned to the 17th district headquarters and submitted property receipts showing seizures of only $420 in U.S. currency and 90 pills, the court filing said.
That evening, FBI agents arrested Garcia at his home on Sedgley Avenue near K Street in Kensington.
When they searched his personal vehicle they recovered $1,400 in pre-recorded funds he had allegedly stolen.The court filing said that after he was arrested, Garcia gave a statement in which he admitted that the June 19th armed robbery was not the only armed robbery he committed while on duty.
Federal prosecutors also said that an FBI informant told authorities that Garcia had threatened him on several occasions after the informant failed to pay Garcia for Garcia’s heroin in a timely fashion. Over the past 18 months, the court filing also said Garcia had utilized the informant on more than 30 occasions to set up drug dealers by planting drugs in their vehicles.
Garcia would subsequently pull the dealers over in his marked police cruiser, seize any money or drugs found, and arrest the dealer, prosecutors said.Garcia, if convicted of all the drug and gun-related offenses with which he is presently charged, faces a mandatory minimum 30 years in federal prison.
Garcia's attorney, Scott DiClaudio, didn't immediately return a call to comment.