The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights protects Americans against unlawful or capricious searches. It is a foundational restriction on government overreach. The Founders knew well the capacity for state-sanctioned violence and wrote specific rules into the Constitution to protect U.S. citizens. While some laud this as the foundation of liberty, others feel it is an encumbrance to justice. Two such officers will now stand trial for providing false or misleading information to judges in order to secure warrants against suspects. These officers stand accused of using the warrants not to bring criminals to justice but rather to steal their drugs and money.
Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado stand accused of civil rights conspiracy, among other things. Other officers and at least one judge, Mauricio Araujo, will take the stand for the prosecution. The trial is set to begin on October 7th of 2019.
System of “John Does” Questioned
At the heart of this case, is the system of “John Does” or anonymous informants that were purported to have provided information to police in order to secure warrants against suspects. These informants appeared to give false information to judges and the judges issued warrants based on their false information. Officers Elizondo and Salgado are charged with paying these informants to provide the false information. In other words, the officers cut their informants into their haul and paid them out of money and drugs acquired in illegal raids.
Federal agents set baits for the officers setting up stash houses and cash locations. According to the feds, Salgado went to Judge Araujo to secure a warrant for the fake stash house. Federal prosecutors expect Araujo to testify that he found probable cause to issue the warrant based on information provided to him by a John Doe.
In a separate sting, the FBI stashed over $18,000 in a gray Honda and with the help of two other officers, Elizondo and Salgado went searching for it. The FBI claims that they found the money and rather than document it, they stuffed it back into the side panel and then moved the car to a nearby location. According to the FBI, they have this on video. Additionally, the two officers who were called in to help Salgado and Elizondo will be among the witnesses federal prosecutors will call.
Relationship Between Judge Araujo and the Officers in Question
As the judge who issued a number of the illegal warrants, Araujo has been questioned concerning his relationship to Salgado and Elizondo. Araujo told authorities that he was not a friend but an acquaintance of Salgado’s. Araujo also told authorities that he went to Salgado’s mother’s wake and attended Salgado’s bachelor party in Colombia. While Araujo has not been charged with any crime in this matter, he has been accused of inappropriate conduct with a female police officer.
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If you have been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, David Freidberg, Attorney at Law, can help you mount a serious defense to the charges. Call our office at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment today.