A FEDERAL-COURT jury yesterday found a former Philadelphia police officer guilty of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in connection with an alleged drug-trafficking operation run by his half brother.
Rafael Cordero, 52, was a former officer in the department's Criminal Intelligence Unit, but the U.S. Attorney's Office alleged that he used his inside knowledge of investigations there to help out his drug-dealing half brother, David Garcia. Cordero was accused of tipping off Garcia about a video-surveillance camera the feds were using to monitor a garage at Indiana Avenue near 5th Street in Fairhill allegedly used to stash drugs, guns and money.
Cordero's attorney, Jack McMahon, said his client thought that Garcia was working as an informant for the feds when he mentioned the camera in a conversation.
Yesterday, a U.S. District Court jury convicted Cordero on two counts of making false statements for lying to the FBI and two counts of obstruction of justice - one for discussing the camera with Garcia and another in relation to showing up at the garage when feds executed a search warrant there.
Cordero was found not guilty on one count of obstruction of justice related to $20,000 found in his home. Prosecutors argued that the money was drug-sale proceeds that Cordero allowed Garcia to store in the home; McMahon said it was a combination of Social Security money and proceeds from selling a gold chain that was going toward the purchase of a new home.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCartney, who prosecuted the case, told the Daily News last night that the verdict "shows a clear message that if you're going to obstruct an investigation, there's serious consequences to pay."
McMahon did not return a phone call seeking comment.