Former EPD detective accused of joining DEA to protect drug smugglers


Daily file photo by Sara Gnolek

Evanston Police Department, 1454 Elmwood Ave. A former Evanston police detective was accused of assisting the Organización de Narcotraficantes Unidos by providing firearms.

Kristina Karisch, Digital Projects Editor

A former detective with the Evanston Police has been accused of joining the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration so he could protect a Puerto Rico-based drug organization responsible for numerous killings and other violence.

Fernando Gomez, 41, was arrested December 11 at the DEA’s Chicago field office, authorities said. Evanston police Cmdr. Ryan Glew told The Daily that Gomez was employed with EPD from April 2004 to Oct. 2011, including in the department’s tactical unit, where he became a detective.

Gomez resigned from EPD to begin a career with the DEA, Glew said. EPD is directing further comment to the U.S. Attorney’s office, he added.

Gomez was charged with racketeering conspiracy for alleged affiliation with the Organización de Narcotraficantes Unidos — which translates to the United Organization of Drug Traffickers — for over a decade. The organization is a group of drug traffickers based in Puerto Rico who are responsible for importing cocaine into New York and elsewhere.

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where the charges were filed, said in a written statement on Dec. 11 that Gomez “obtained firearms from drug dealers, transported those firearms to Puerto Rico, and provided those firearms” to Jose Martinez-Diaz — a member of La ONU who is also being charged in the indictment.

Gomez “then joined the DEA so that he could help members of the narcotics conspiracy, including Martinez-Diaz, evade prosecution by law enforcement,” the statement reads.

Glew told the Chicago Tribune that there is no indication the guns Gomez allegedly sent to Puerto Rico came from the department’s evidence locker or otherwise were connected with Gomez’s police work.

Gomez faces a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence and up to life in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Twitter: @kristinakarisch