Ex-NYPD detective accused of helping robbers target Asian American business owners

Ex-NYPD detective accused of helping robbers target Asian American business owners
Robinson Greig on Unsplash
Michelle De Pacina
June 12, 2023
A former New York Police Department (NYPD) detective was accused of taking bribes from a burglary crew who targeted Asian American-owned businesses.
Bribes: On Thursday, federal prosecutors alleged Saul Arismendy De La Cruz, 31, helped burglary ringleader Dagoberto Soto-Ramirez and three other men — Edwin Luciano Rodriguez-Genao, Santiago Xavier Maldonado and Diego Muelas-Gonzalez — “evade arrest” in exchange for bribes he received between 2017 and 2022.
“There will always be zero tolerance in the NYPD for corruption of any kind. And our investigators, in close partnership with all of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, will continue to ensure that it is punished to the fullest extent possible,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a statement.
Residential burglaries: The men allegedly committed residential burglaries and home invasion robberies that primarily targeted small business owners, a majority of whom were Asian Americans. They were reportedly armed with weapons, including guns, and stole jewelry, money and other items from dozens of homes in New York and throughout the country. 
The indictment claims that the men chose their targets “by stalking victims, conducting internet research and compensating tipsters.”
Saul Arismendy De La Cruz. via FBI
Arrest and charges: All five men have been charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted. 
De La Cruz, Rodriguez-Genao, Maldonado and Muelas-Gonzalez were arrested on Friday morning and arraigned before White Plains Magistrate Judge Judith McCarthy. 
However, Soto-Ramirez remains at large. He is additionally being charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and two counts of possession of a firearm. The ringleader faces up to life in prison if convicted of the top count.
The case is currently being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  
About the ex-NYPD detective: De La Cruz, who retired in December 2022, previously received an annual salary of $143,092 as a Field Intelligence Officer assigned to the 100 Precinct in Queens. He was reportedly suspended without pay in November last year after allegedly being involved in an off-duty shooting.
According to his lawyer, De La Cruz maintains his innocence. 
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