EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A former El Paso police officer who helped her stepfather stash and distribute cocaine was sentenced to two years in prison.
Monica Garcia, 24, faces up to 20 years in prison. In August of 2021, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premise, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Garcia used her position as an El Paso police officer to conduct countersurveillance and run license plate registrations to identify undercover police vehicles near her stepfather’s residence and stash house.
She then used that information to help her stepfather, Fred Saenz, avoid detection by law enforcement while he distributed cocaine.
On Nov. 10, 2020, agents seized $14,405 from Saenz’’ residence and 1.2 kilograms of cocaine from a stash house.
On July 26, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
“Thanks to the collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the El Paso Police Department we were able to see that justice was done in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “This sentence is a message that corruption, at any level, will not be tolerated.”
Added DEA Special Agent in Charge Greg Millard of the El Paso Division: “Drug traffickers will stop at nothing, including trying to infiltrate law enforcement. But we can’t let them. DEA and its local, state, and federal partners will remain diligent in finding and prosecuting anyone who supports, funds, or aids the cartels.”
When Garcia was indicted in December, EPPD Police Chief Greg Allen lamented the alleged involvement of a public servant in a serious crime.
“An officer that chooses to violate their oath has no place in law enforcement and this case serves as an example that the El Paso Police Department does not condone and will not tolerate such conduct by any officer of this department,” Allen said in a news release issued Thursday.