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Former WPD officer sentenced to five years in federal lockup

DENVER — Saying “She’s the embodiment of corruption,” US District Judge Raymond Moore on Friday, Jan. 23, sentenced former Walsenburg Police Officer Gloria Suazo, 32, to five years in federal prison for helping her husband Jeromy Suazo, 33, possess heroin with his intent to distribute the drug in Pueblo. The judge said he was sentencing the former cop to a longer than recommended term because she was an officer of the law when she broke the law back in April 2014 when her husband was initially arrested and the case moved from Pueblo to federal jurisdiction. Suazo was hired by the City of Walsenburg in November 2013, and was days away from ending her probation period when, two days after her husband’s arrest on drug trafficking charges, she helped him by hiding heroin and cash that was in the family home in Pueblo. Jeromy Suazo pleaded guilty in December 2014 to charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin, heroin possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Last month Judge Moore sentenced Jeromy Suazo to 10 years in federal prison. In her case, sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence of four years and three months or less, but Moore went outside the recommended guidelines and imposed a stiffer sentence, saying of Gloria Suazo, “She’s an injury to the public.” When Suazo entered her guilty plea to the charges on October 29, the court allowed her to remain free on bond until sentencing. However, the very next day Pueblo police again arrested her on charges alleging she sold crack cocaine to a resident of a mobile home park in Pueblo. Moore then ordered her arrest for violation of her bond. That case remains pending in the Pueblo District Court docket. Sobbing and leaning against the podium in federal court last week prior to being sentenced, Suazo said, “I would like to apologize to the Walsenburg Police Department for being an embarrassment to them and to law enforcement in general.” Frank Moya, Suazo’s Denver-based attorney, had asked the court for a sentence of no more than 41 months, and recounted the very difficult situation Gloria had been raised in, including allegations of sexual abuse and negligent treatment at the hands of her step-father, and the fact her step-father, biological father and grandfather had all been prison inmates. But Judge Moore was once bitten and twice shy when it came to the reasons behind the former cop’s fall from grace. “I agree with counsel that you had a horrific childhood, (But) at age 32 you just can’t rely on difficulties of childhood to minimize everything you do.” He said from the federal bench, Suazo had “paraded your kids in here in court like an exhibit” back in October and then had those kids with her the next night when she was arrested on the crack cocaine sale allegation. “If you don’t change, your children will be the fourth generation (incarcerated), Moore said.” Assistant US Attorney Kurt Bohn, who prosecuted the case, said the reputation of the WPD suffered due to her criminal activity and said her behavior damages the reputation of law enforcers in general. It’s disgusting,” Bohn added.