For at least four years, a Houston police officer — who swore to uphold the law and protect the public — aided a Mexican drug cartel to expand its empire in the United States.
Noe Juarez, a former Marine who received excellent performance reviews from his HPD superiors, deceived his fellow officers and led a double life as a cartel agent.
Juarez didn't try hard to keep those lives separate, court papers state. He met with cartel members in uniform and sold the narcos firearms and body armor from the back of his own police cruiser. He passed along police intelligence that may have helped the traffickers evade capture. Juarez bought cartel bosses luxury cars in his own name, so the narcos could mask their wealth.
Now, Juarez will serve more than 30 years in federal prison for his role in the international drug conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced Wednesday.
Juarez, who was convicted last January for conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and a separate conspiracy to possess and distribute firearms as part of drug trafficking, was sentenced by a federal judge in New Orleans.
Prosecutors said Juarez helped organized crime groups, including the Los Zetas drug cartel in Mexico, to smuggle cocaine throughout the United States, including cities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, New York and Michigan.
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Juarez aided brothers Efrain and Sergio Grimaldo in the scheme, Polite, the top prosecutor for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said in a statement.
Polite said the conviction was the result of a collaboration between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Their collective work ensures that a crooked cop will now spend over 30 years in prison for pouring more illegal guns and drugs onto our streets,” Polite said.
Juarez served as a Houston police officer from 1995 until he was fired in 2015, HPD spokesman John Cannon said. Juarez had been a senior police officer assigned to the Traffic Division.