LAWFUEL.COM – A Huntington Park Police Officer who for a time was a member of a federal drug trafficking task force has been convicted on federal charges stemming from thefts of cocaine and methamphetamine from drug dealers.
Sergeant Alvaro Murillo, 45, of West Covina, who sometimes was called El Padrino (The Godfather), was found guilty late yesterday of two drug conspiracies, one count of extortion and one count of submitting a false tax return. As a result of the convictions and the quantity of narcotics involved in the case, Murillo faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
A second man indicted in the case, Alberto Del Real-Gallardo, 40, of Palmdale, pleaded guilty last year to a drug conspiracy charge. Del Real was an informant for Murillo and, at Murillo’s direction, participated in thefts of drugs that were later sold for profit.
The evidence presented during a weeklong trial in United States District Court in Los Angeles showed that from at least 2002 through 2006 Murillo worked with Del Real and other informants – who sometimes called themselves the “black tactic group” – to identify drug dealers from whom they could steal narcotics. Once a target was identified, Murillo checked law enforcement databases to obtain information about the dealer and to make sure there were no legitimate investigations into the target. After planning the thefts, Del Real and others would trick the drug dealer into turning over narcotics or otherwise cause the drug dealer to leave without payment, often with Murillo in the area to act as backup. Once they had secured the narcotics, Murillo and the people involved in the thefts made arrangements to store and then to sell the stolen drugs.
Murillo orchestrated the theft of five kilograms of cocaine in November 2002 and four pounds of methamphetamine in 2006. Murillo also attempted to steal cocaine from an undercover DEA agent who was posing as a drug trafficker.
Testimony at trial showed that Murillo typically demanded to be paid in cash, and the jury heard evidence that he received training on money laundering tactics used by narcotics traffickers.
“Sergeant Murillo was a corrupt law enforcement officer who used his specialized knowledge to line his pockets with money made by selling illegal drugs,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “Crimes that involve a violation of the public’s trust are among the most important cases prosecuted by my office. Because of the seriousness of Murillo’s conduct, he now faces at least a decade in federal prison.”
Murillo, who became a police officer in 2004, was suspended by the Huntington Park Police Department in September 2006.
Murillo is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson on August 10. At sentencing, Murillo faces a statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
Del Real, who faces a potential life sentence, is expected to be sentenced by Judge Wilson later this year.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the Huntington Park Police Department and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Lamar W. Baker
Violent and Organized Crime Section
Chief Assistant United States Attorney George S. Cardona
Release No. 09-068