Fernando Gomez began uncontrollably weeping Thursday morning as he was led out of a federal courtroom in Chicago and back to his cell.
The former Evanston cop-turned-DEA agent who was arrested last week on charges that he worked as a double agent for a gang of murderous drug traffickers put his hand on his heart and looked at family members in the back of the court as he broke down in tears.
Gomez, 41, is being held in isolation at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in the Loop.
The hearing was held at the Dirksen Federal Building, across the street from the DEA’s Chicago office where Gomez worked until he was arrested earlier this month.
“A lot of guys are used to jail … it’s not much of a culture shock,” Robert Rascia, Gomez’s attorney, said.
His client, who denies the charges leveled against him, is not one of those guys.
Federal Judge Susan E. Cox on Thursday agreed to allow U.S. federal marshals to transfer Gomez to a detention facility in New York City, where the case against Gomez took shape and became public on Dec. 11 when prosecutors unsealed the charges that triggered his arrest.
For a decade, prosecutors allege, Gomez had been in league Jose Martinez-Diaz — the founder and head of a murderous international drug gang known as La Organizacion de Narcotraficantes Unidas.
As a cop with the Evanston Police Department from 2004 to 2011, Gomez, prosecutors allege, obtained guns from drug dealers that he ultimately transported to Puerto Rico to give to Martinez-Diaz, who also goes by “Tony Zinc.”
Gomez himself has used a gun to further their ends of the drug organization, prosecutors allege.
As a DEA who was hired in 2011, Gomez allegedly helped keep him a step ahead of the law.
Gomez applied to join the DEA after he and Martinez-Diaz concluded that the scheme — if successful — would make them “unstoppable,” according to prosecutors.
Evanston Police Chief Rich Eddington was shocked by the allegations.
“For myself and the members of the Evanston Police Department, we feel betrayed by Gomez’s activities. This is a bitter pill for us to swallow,” he told the Sun-Times on Thursday.
There’s no indication Gomez misbehaved during his time as a cop in Evanston, Eddington said.
“He is not going to be involved in misbehavior that would call attention to himself that would devalue himself to the gang. There’s a motivation to appear to be a hard-working, conscientious police officer,” Eddington said.
Nonetheless, Eddington said the Evanston Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards initiated an internal review to see if there are “any red flags that might have been missed” during Gomez’s time in Evanston.
Gomez worked as a patrol officer and then as a detective on a tactical unit focused on guns and drugs, Eddington said.
“He was social guy, and I think that’s part of the persona of a guy who is literally going to be embedded in law enforcement for organized crime reasons … you want to fit in and be one of the guys,” Eddington said.
A DEA spokeswoman, apart from reiterating previous comments that the allegations are being taken “seriously,” had no additional comment when reached Thursday.