Cop faces drug charges

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By David Giuliani

A former Las Vegas police officer and his wife were arrested early Thursday afternoon on charges of distributing prescription drugs.

Robert Ortega and his wife, Judith Ortega, were taken into custody after a lengthy investigation. He faces three counts of trafficking prescription medications, while she faces two counts, Police Chief Gary Gold said.

Gold said Officer Ortega worked for the department for about four years. He said Officer Ortega, who was terminated May 11, had been on paid administrative leave for four months because of personnel matters, but the chief wouldn’t reveal any details.

The drug investigation was conducted by both the Region 4 Narcotics Task Force, which is a combined effort of area law enforcement agencies but headed by the Las Vegas police, and the FBI. Gold said the FBI was involved because the federal agency is interested in any cases that may involve public corruption.

Criminal complaints against the Ortegas hadn’t been filed as of press time. And Gold didn’t go into details of his former officer’s case, but he pointed to a binder that he said was full of information regarding the internal affairs investigation.

The task force stated in a press release that it has seen an increase in people illegally selling prescription medicines.

Gold said the arrest of Officer Ortega was an example of the Police Department’s aggressiveness.

“We want to let people know that we are policing ourselves,” he said. “Anyone — whether they are an officer or a civilian — is held accountable. Officer Ortega is being held accountable.”