On the eve of jury selection for his trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, an eight-year veteran of the NYPD decided to plead guilty to participating in a violent robbery crew that dressed as cops to steal from drug dealers. Emmanuel Tavarez, 31, and his crew, which included family members, were responsible for more than 100 armed robberies of narcotics traffickers that netted more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in drug proceeds over the course of a decade.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Tavarez used his police badge and falsified search warrants to stage searches and seizures of narcotics traffickers. He also used his status as a transit officer to obtain NYPD raid jackets and other NYPD equipment for the crew so they looked like authentic police officers. The crew would locate drug dealers' stashes in New York, Philadelphia, and Bridgeport, Conn., then stage raids as if they were narcotics officers, keeping the cash and reselling the drugs later.

Tavarez, whose "significant other" just gave birth to his child, faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for robbery conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, and the use of a firearm during the raids. His attorney, Raymond L. Colon, cited the "overwhelming" quantity of evidence against his client in explaining the guilty plea, but tells City Room, “For all intents and purposes he was a fine officer. This was really an aberration, I think."