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Calexico cop charged in coke case to face detention hearing today

June 08, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Jose Perry, the Calexico police officer charged with importing more than 800 pounds of cocaine through the downtown Calexico Port of Entry, will face a detention hearing today in a San Diego federal court.

Perry was expected to have that hearing Thursday, but he asked for a delay to allow his family to attend the hearing.

Earlier this week Perry and his alleged accomplice, Jose Barak, were moved from the Imperial County jail and placed in federal custody in San Diego.

There was no information this morning as to why they were moved. Initially, they were to have had their detention hearings in federal court in El Centro.

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Barak, who resides in Thousand Palms, had his detention hearing Thursday.

Debra Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said Barak was detained without bail as a result of the hearing. He will remain in custody in San Diego.

Barak and Perry were arrested May 24 after packages with more than 800 pounds of cocaine were found in a car Barak was reportedly driving and in which Perry was a passenger.

According to authorities, a U.S. Customs inspector recognized Perry and allowed the car they were in past the primary inspection area and into Calexico.

However, Customs was conducting a "block blitz" in which a number of vehicles were randomly sent to the secondary inspection area.

Barak and Perry's car was among the group directed into the secondary.

Instead of complying, Barak, according to authorities, raced through the port into Calexico. Customs inspectors were able to puncture at least two of the car's tires with a spike strip laid out before Barak cleared the port.

The car crashed in the 300 block of Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

Barak was taken into custody at the scene.

Perry managed to escape into Mexico.

Later that night, a Calexico police officer, in contact with Perry by cell phone, reportedly talked him into crossing back into the United States.

Perry, a Calexico resident, did so and surrendered to authorities.

His court-appointed attorney, Donald LeVine of San Diego, has said his client is a good police officer but he has been characterized as gullible and naive.

He said others took advantage of that. He did not speak in further detail about that point.

Local U.S. Attorney Peter Lewis, initially assigned to handle the detention hearing, said he planned to argue Perry is a flight risk. Because the matter was moved to San Diego, Lewis is no longer handling the matter.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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