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NY police officer accused of leading drug robbery crew

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(CNN) — A veteran New York police officer is accused of equipping a robbery crew with state-of-the art New York police equipment and helping them loot drug dealers out of a million dollars.

The officer, Jose Tejada, 45, is also accused of allowing the robbery crew to use his Manhattan apartment for their enterprise.

In court documents filed Wednesday, federal prosecutors said the crew posed as police officers and used fake warrants to arrest drug traffickers.

The crew then robbed those it arrested of their money and their stashes of marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine, authorities said.

In all, the group — comprised of Tejada and at least 21 others — is responsible for more than 100 armed robberies since 2001 throughout New York city.

Tejada was arrested Wednesday and faces multiple counts of robbery, drug dealing and weapons charges.

An arraignment in the case is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

It was not immediately known if he had retained a lawyer.

Drug bust gone bad

It is unclear what made police begin to investigate Tejada, an officer who started with the NYPD in 1996. But it may have been a botched operation that is detailed in court documents.

In 2006 and 2007, Tejada participated in three robberies, prosecutors say, stealing thousands of dollars while dressed in his police uniform. In one of the cases, the crew stormed a Bronx home searching for cocaine.

“The crew mistakenly believed the residents to be drug dealers,” court documents said. “In fact, the residents were a family of three, including a teenager, who had no involvement in drug dealing.”

The crew did not find drugs but searched the home while Tejada held the family at gunpoint, prosecutors allege.

Once they left, the family called 911.

A flight risk

Tejada faces a minimum of 17 years in prison if convicted.

And prosecutors say it is the possibility of a lengthy sentence may push Tejada to run.

Authorities plan to argue against allowing Tejada to get bail, saying he is dangerous and may flee.

“The defendant poses a substantial risk of flight,” court documents said. “The defendant has strong family ties to the Dominican Republic, owns property in the Dominican Republic, and has traveled to the Dominican Republic at least ten times in the past ten years.”

By Lateef Mungin. CNN’s Julie Cannold contributed to this report.

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