A New Jersey cop is headed to federal prison for 2.5 years after admitting he beat and robbed suspects and innocent citizens.
He then sent text messages, bragging to fellow officers about his crimes.
The Paterson police officer pleaded guilty last week to conducting illegal traffic stops, robbing and shaking down innocent civilians and suspects alike, making him the seventh officer arrested from the same department in an ongoing FBI probe.
Paterson police officer 30-year-old Frank Toledo is just one of seven rogue cops nailed in an FBI investigation into a conspiracy that apparently began in late 2016 and continued through late 2018 after the police chief of the department notified federal authorities.
Officer Toledo also confessed to beating people he arrested in at least two instances as part of his plea deal.
The FBI began investigating Toledo, who originally faced up to 40 years for his crimes, about 30 months ago after the Paterson Police Department spotted problems with several cops’s conduct within its department, according to North Jersey.
Toledo was suspended for a short time during 2018 after the federal probe began, but later returned back to work.
He pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate citizen’s civil rights in U.S. District Court on Tuesday as part of a deal with federal prosecutors to shorten his prison sentence.
The former disgraced officer admitted he and several other officers involved in the conspiracy stopped and searched vehicles without justification to steal cash and valuables from drivers and passengers.
While working for the Paterson Police Department, officer Toledo also stopped and searched citizens on the street and stole their money.
He also stole money from people he arrested.
He and several other officers would cover up their crimes by filing false police reports against civilians and suspects.
In one incident, Toledo confessed he and officer Eudy Ramos took $1,000 from a suspect they arrested and split the money.
Later, the officers filed a police report omitting the fact any money was taken.
The officers involved in the scheme including Officers Eudy Ramos, Jonathan Bustios, Daniel Pent and Matthew Torres communicated via text messages, so their crimes could not be recorded.
“Everything we do is illegal,” Toledo texted officer Bustos, evidence showed.
The group of rogue officers used the code word “mango,” which meant cash.
“Yo, what the f–k are you doing?”
“I’m trying to go mango hunting. Let’s goooo!” Bustios texted Toledo on November 6, 2017.
Toledo also “routinely used unreasonable and excessive force” injuring people on the job, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
“I’ve been borderline blacking out when I catch these n—–s,” Toledo texted Bustios, recalling an incident where he chased a black juvenile, took him to the ground and punched him several times.
“I beat that n—-r like he owed me money.”
In his text, Toledo said when he used force on the juvenile that he was “no longer a cop,” according to the Paterson Times.
In another incident, officer Toledo and Torres arrested a person, cuffed his hands behind his back and placed him the back of a police car.
While transporting him, Toledo floored his car then stomped on the brake so the person would slam his body and head against the divider in the police car.
Toledo recorded the incident on his cell phone and forwarded the video to other officers, later bragging the officers “missed the best part” where he “laid him out” then saying “we didn’t even lock him up” for a crime and “cut him” loose.
Unlike leadership in most departments across the country, Paterson Police Chief Troy Oswald has led the charge in cleaning up his department of rogue officers or so-called bad apples, even though it has led to several of his former officers being arrested and charged.
“When I became Chief of the Paterson Police Department, I pledged my honor to protect and serve this community. As part of that pledge, I have been working with the FBI to clean house of anyone who violates that same oath,” Chief Oswald said in an interview.
“The public should take notice that the officers we have lost with recent prosecutions are officers who are not worthy of carrying the shield for this Police Department. I will continue to work tirelessly to see that every officer working for this Department demonstrates respect for the members of this community.” he said.
Officer Toledo was officially terminated after making his plea deal on Tuesday, July 16.