On a cold January day, a Chicago police sergeant and officer carried out a raid as they had hundreds of times before. Using an informant’s tip, they obtained a search warrant from a Cook County judge and entered a woman’s apartment looking for evidence of illegal drug sales.
Inside, Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado found marijuana in mason jars and small bags of heroin. They also found a handgun, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.
While that account indicates that the 32-year-old woman whose apartment had been raided was in serious legal trouble, all charges against her were abruptly dropped a few days later. The two officers were taken off street duty as well. It turns out they were the ones in trouble. The officers were under investigation in an FBI corruption probe.
The Tribune says its analysis shows the case is “one of dozens that have been quietly dismissed by Cook County prosecutors in the five months since the FBI investigation became publicly known.” The current total of cases involving Elizondo and Salgado dropped so far by State’s Attorney Kim Fox: 37.
The pair were indicted in May on federal charges that they lied to judges to obtain search warrants which were then used to steal cash and drugs from the raided homes.
The Tribune’s examination of the case shows that a majority of the dismissals involved search warrants corrupted by the officers who had anonymous informants lie to Cook County judges. In eight of the 37, Salgado was the state’s only witness who appeared before the grand jury that approved criminal charges.
We have run out of room, but we will have more on this jaw-dropping case in our next blog post.
If you have been wrongfully arrested, speak to an attorney experienced in not only representing clients at trial, but also in criminal appeals and litigation involving public corruption and civil rights violations.