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‘Would have been a good Christmas’; traps set for indicted cops, document says

Sun-Times file photo

After cruising by what he thought to be a stash house on the West Side filled with thousands of dollars in drug proceeds last December, Sgt. Xavier Elizondo allegedly waved his Chicago police credentials at the man who tipped him off to it.

“Everybody calls me ‘X,’ ” he said, according to federal court records.

“I’m the man who makes the deals and cuts the deals, alright?”

Insisting “people got to eat,” Elizondo allegedly then cut a deal that day to split the $15,000 he would find in the stash house with his tipster and others. But the money was apparently hidden there by the feds. And five months later, he and Officer David Salgado face serious federal charges alleging they lied to state court judges to land bogus search warrants so they could steal cash and drugs.

Now, an 88-page document unsealed in federal court Thursday has revealed new details about the case, including the stash house plot that apparently didn’t work out.

“It would have been a good Christmas for everybody,” Elizondo griped later, according to the document.

Elizondo and Salgado have pleaded not guilty.

RELATED: Lawsuits, citizen complaints dog 2 CPD cops charged with stealing cash, drugs

FBI agents set multiple traps for the officers, the document said. They hid thousands of dollars in a rental car and inside a stove in the unoccupied apartment the officers were led to believe was a stash house.

But the officers became suspicious. And fearing the officers might destroy evidence, the feds asked permission to search Salgado’s apartment at night last January.

Michael Petro, Salgado’s attorney, said Thursday he thought that raid was “outrageous.” In the end, he said, “it turns out OK.”

“They didn’t find a darn thing,” Petro said.

Michael Clancy, Elizondo’s attorney, declined to comment because he believes the case is headed to trial in May 2019.

A federal source began posing as a tipster for the accused cops in December and told Elizondo about the stash house on the West Side, the feds say. Elizondo allegedly agreed to give the source a cut of whatever was found inside.

Their meeting that month took place in an unmarked police vehicle — a Ford Explorer. Another tipster working with the officers joined Elizondo and the source, as well as an officer believed to be Salgado.

“Yeah, so we’re the police, but we like to do business,” Elizondo allegedly said during the meeting. “In order for us to be successful and not mess with, I mean, people got to eat man, everybody got to eat.”

The officers’ other tipster allegedly helped them land a search warrant for the stash house using false information. Elizondo, Salgado and other officers raided it Dec. 20 and found the $15,000 the feds had stashed in the hood of a stove. However, the FBI had also placed closed-circuit recording devices in the apartment, which the officers found. So the cash was apparently inventoried with CPD.

Elizondo later told the federal source, “that last thing had cameras man, I don’t know if you knew that,” according to the document. Elizondo allegedly explained that “everything that we found, when you told us where it was at, it got inventoried.”

“If we didn’t find it, those cameras, and I’m glad we did, but if we didn’t man, it would have been a good Christmas for everybody,” Elizondo allegedly said.

In January, the FBI stashed $18,200 in a rental car parked at a hotel near Midway Airport and left a key in the rear bumper. Elizondo, Salgado and other officers allegedly found it and drove it first to a warehouse before returning it to the hotel parking lot. Then they took it to a Mexican restaurant, where they ate dinner before driving it to Homan Square and making an inventory of just $14,000.

Federal agents came to tow the car at Homan Square the next day but ran into Salgado, according to the document. They told him they were from internal affairs and, a short time later, Salgado allegedly called Elizondo to warn him.

Elizondo allegedly told Salgado to “just relocate everything, alright?”

“Just make sure whatever you have in your house isn’t there no more, you know what I mean?”