(WLS) A police sergeant involved in an ABC7 I-Team investigation of botched CPD raids was charged Thursday with stealing cash and drugs during searches.
Sgt. Xavier “X” Elizondo was indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago after allegedly submitting false affidavits to judges to obtain warrants. Elizondo and Chicago police officer David Salgado face federal counts of embezzlement and conspiracy to commit theft. Salgado is also charged with making false statements to the FBI.
Elizondo and Salgado were working as gang officers the past year when federal prosecutors say they took part in a theft scheme-once taking $4,200 from a rental vehicle they searched – and then falsified police reports to cover their mischief.
Investigators say the pair worked with two people who, posing as confidential informants, provided false information to convince state court judges to sign their search warrants. They then stole items such as drugs, cartons of cigarettes and cash from properties they searched before giving a portion of the stolen property to the people posing as informants.
The scheme alleged by federal prosecutors on Thursday has similarities to a case uncovered by the I-Team in February 2016. During that incident Sgt. Elizondo led a mistaken SWAT raid-on the wrong Lawndale apartment.
“Once they knocked the door down, they had guns all in my face, guns in my kids’ face, they throw me off my bed and put the handcuffs on me. The kids were crying and screaming” resident Sharon Spearman told the I-Team in 2016. “The only thing I felt was like, please don’t take my life, or my kids’ life” Spearman said.
In her lawsuit that the city later settled for $40,000, Elizondo was accused of taking suspected drug money from the correct apartment and paying some of it as hush money to Spearman.
“When I showed them my ID, they looked at it and then they said, they pulled me to the side, I think we made a big mistake. They went next door and they did the same thing to their house, they found what they were looking for, then they came back to my house, one of the sarge, he pulled me to my room and told me we are very sorry that we broke in your house, and we did this to your house, and here’s a thousand dollars for doing this to you, we’re sorry.”
Thursday’s federal indictments of Elizondo and Salgado are for misconduct that allegedly occurred after the I-Team report-and angered Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson who called the charges an “insult.”
“Not only will they have lost the honor and respect of this profession, they will be criminals who have abused the trust and violated the oath they took when they first received their stars” Johnson said.
According to a CPD spokesperson, the officers were stripped of their police powers and assigned to administrative duty when the department was notified of the federal investigation. Now with actual charges being filed the pair has been suspended without pay.
Elizondo did not reply to a phone message left by the I-Team.
If convicted they face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for the embezzlement charge and five years for the conspiracy charge.
Addressing a room full of new recruits earlier Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was visibly angry.
“If substantiated, these allegations are a disgrace to what I and every member of the Chicago Police Department risk our lives for,” Johnson said.
Article Org: abc7chicago.com