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Two, including Calexico police officer, indicted on cocaine-importation allegations

June 09, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

A federal grand jury has indicted Calexico police Officer Jose Perry and another man, Jose Barak, for allegedly trying to import more than 800 pounds of cocaine into the United States through the downtown Calexico Port of Entry.

The two-count indictment charges Perry and Barak with importation of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

On Friday, two days after the indictment was released, Perry had a detention hearing during which a federal judge in San Diego ruled Perry will remain in custody without bail.

Barak also has been detained without bail.

Both men were arrested May 24 after the car they were reportedly traveling in sped through the port into Calexico.

According to authorities, Barak was the driver of the car and Perry was the passenger.

The two did make it through a primary checkpoint when a U.S. Customs inspector recognized Perry as a Calexico police officer and allowed the two men to pass, officials said.

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However, Customs at that point was doing a "block blitz" operation in which a number of vehicles are randomly directed into the secondary inspection area.

The car Barak allegedly was driving was directed to join that group of vehicles, but Barak reportedly turned away from the inspection area and raced out of the port.

Two tires on the car were punctured when inspectors put out a spike strip, but the car was driven a few blocks from the port before the car crashed in the 300 block of Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

Barak was taken into custody near the scene. He was found with the keys to the car, officials have said.

Perry reportedly fled into Mexicali.

Calexico police officials said one officer from the department was in contact with Perry by cellular phone and talked him into crossing back into the United States.

When Perry did that he was taken into custody.

Officials have declined to release further details on the case.

In an earlier interview, Customs officials said seizing of more than 800 pounds of cocaine likely hurt some drug smuggling organization, at least temporarily.

Donald LeVine, the San Diego attorney assigned to represent Perry, could not be reached for comment on the decision to detain Perry without bail.

He said in an earlier interview that his client is a good police officer, who has been described as naive and gullible.

He contended that individuals took advantage of those character traits. LeVine did not say what individuals.

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

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