EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

October 19, 2012

Indicted officer's passport seized

BOSTON — Indicted Lawrence police officer P.J. Lopez has been ordered to surrender his passport, firearm and firearm license.

Lopez, 46, was released on a $25,000 bond after his arraignment in federal court on bribery and other charges Wednesday. He is not allowed to leave the continental United States while his federal case is pending, according to court records.

In a statement, Lopez’s attorney, Alex Cain of Andover, noted the police officer entered “not guilty” pleas to charges of bribery, making a false statement to a federal agent and obstruction of justice in connection with his dealings with an unnamed towing company in Lawrence.

Lopez, a Lawrence police officer since December 1997, is accused of making arrangements with the Lawrence tow company to have cars he ticketed towed in exchange for a “stream of benefits,” including a $4,000 plow, according to court papers.

Prosecutors allege Lopez lied to a federal agent, saying he reimbursed the company in cash for the plow and produced a bogus receipt for it, according to the indictment.

He was indicted through a joint investigation involving Lawrence police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

If convicted, Lopez faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the obstruction of justice charge, 10 years for bribery and five years on the false statement charge. There is also the potential for up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

Lopez was indicted on Sept. 25.

Earning roughly $62,000 annually, he remains on the city payroll. Mayor William Lantigua, the appointing authority of police officers, has refused to stop paying Lopez and another high ranking police official who was indicted on state charges. Both Lopez and Deputy Police Chief Melix Bonilla, who was indicted on bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges indicted by the Essex Country Grand Jury, are political supporters of Lantigua.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Photos of the Week