Convicted on drug conspiracy and gun charges, a former officer of the year was sentenced Wednesday to more than 30 years in prison after supplying assault rifles and sensitive information to his co-conspirators, including senior cartel leaders in Mexico. Besides providing firearms, pepper spray, bulletproof vests, luxury vehicles, and police scanner radios to Los Zetas cartel members, the ex-cop from Texas also participated in distributing cocaine from Louisiana to New York since 2006.
On September 2, 2014, Efrain Grimaldo, the nephew of Houston Police Officer Noe Juarez, was sentenced to 33 years in federal prison after caught smuggling 1,640 kilograms of cocaine throughout the southern states and east coast. On June 24, 2014, Efrain’s brother, Sergio Grimaldo, was extradited from Mexico and later charged along with Officer Juarez for participating in a conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine. Juarez was also charged in a separate conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
In April 2015, videos surfaced of Juarez illegally selling firearms and sensitive information to government informants posing as major drug traffickers. In March 2011, a hidden camera recorded Juarez selling assault rifles to an informant. A second video recorded in July 2011 revealed Juarez running license plates through the Houston Police Department (HPD) database for an undercover informant who told the cop that the plate numbers belonged to people who owed him $800,000 in drug money.
Fired from the department following his arrest, Juarez was convicted earlier this year for conspiracy to possess and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and a separate conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. On Wednesday, the disgraced ex-cop was sentenced to 365 months in federal prison for his role in the drug conspiracy.
“The cartel’s efforts to infiltrate law enforcement are not limited to Mexico. They want to do it here as well, and we can’t let them,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen Azzam. “… [Juarez] not only violated his duties as a police officer, but also endangered fellow law enforcement officers and the public trust/faith through his actions.”
According to court records, Juarez was completely aware of his nephews’ cocaine trafficking as he illegally provided them and their associates with weapons and police equipment. Tasked with serving and protecting the people of Houston, Juarez cowardly betrayed his oath in order to serve the Zetas cartel instead.