Two Chicago police officers, Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado, are facing federal charges for obstruction of justice, lying on affidavits, and lying to the FBI. The two allegedly falsified information on search warrant petitions to judges to execute no-knock warrants in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. They are also accused of stealing drugs and money recovered from the raids.
In early 2018, the FBI set Elizondo and Salgado up. They had stolen what they believed was drug money from a vehicle that the FBI towed away. Later that day, the FBI raided Salgado’s home. Both men have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges. The most serious charge against the men carries at 20-year sentence.
Search Warrants at the Heart of This Trial
The two former officers, who are currently on paid desk duty, are accused of having informants offer false testimony to judges. In December of 2017, the two men asked for a warrant from Circuit Judge Mauricio Araujo to raid an alleged stash house. However, the stash house had been set up by the FBI. According to the FBI, Araujo signed the warrant at a Christmas party outside a Chicago steak house. Araujo has been removed from the bench due to an unrelated sexual harassment issue and has not faced any charges in conjunction with these two officers. He is expected to testify against the police officers at trial.
Prosecutors will also call witnesses who will testify that the two officers stole money from their homes or apartments after executing warrants. Both men are accused of profiting from the drug trade that they were supposed to be suffocating.
Federal Trial Poses a Huge Problem for City Prosecutors
If the two officers are convicted on these charges, the ripple effect will be staggering. Hundreds of men and women who were convicted on their testimony will have the chance to get their cases looked at again. Since the searches they conducted are now known to be illegal, it is unclear if any of the evidence they presented at these trials will be usable.
The two were known for pushing informants to make false claims to judges in order to secure warrants. The FBI has them dead to rights doing just that. The warrant that was signed outside of a steakhouse resulted in a raid conjured by an FBI informant posing as an informant for the police officers. These are known as “John Doe” warrants because the informants do not have to put their name on anything.
During the raid, Elizondo found surveillance equipment but did not realize it belonged to the FBI. Elizondo thought that the drug dealers were recording him. Spooked by the recording equipment, Elizondo inventoried every dollar that they found. Their trial is expected to last two weeks.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been accused of embezzling drug money while cashing a public servant’s check, David Freidberg can help defend you from the charges. Give us a call at (312) 560-7100 or talk to us online for more information.