Philly police inspector gets 5 years for extortion

PHILADELPHIA - October 4, 2011

Former police Inspector Carlo "Danny" Castro was defiant when he left court.

"When you think about it, I was a victim," Castro said.

Castro was convicted of lying to the FBI in April, and in June he pled guilty to a conspiracy-extortion charge.

Castro, his family, and supporters begged the judge for leniency, pointing to a 25-year police career and many good deeds.

Castro choked back tears, claiming he was guilty only of a lapse of judgment.

But, Judge Harvey Bartle wasn't buying it, saying Castro was guilty of a scheme that could have gotten someone killed.

"The defendant has dishonored himself and the department. He has lost his integrity and damaged the integrity of the department, and he has besmirched the service performed by every law abiding police officer," Judge Bartle said.

Judge Bartle departed upward from the sentencing guidelines and slapped Castro with a five year prison term, well beyond the three years the prosecutors were seeking.

Castro's mother Maria Cartagena sobbed loudly.

"My son is innocent," she said.

Outside court Castro waved pictures of the man he claims cheated him out of his life savings and the man he hired to help him collect the money, a man who turned out to be an FBI informant.

Castro claims he was entrapped.

"I made my mistake; I accept responsibility for the mistake I made, but I'm no criminal, I'm no thief. I certainly do not deserve the punishment that was handed down today," Castro said.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey calls it an appropriate sentence and a strong warning to every other officer in the department.

"He had a very bright future, good career, and he threw it all away so he has no one to blame but himself," Ramsey said.

Castro says he will appeal the sentence.

In the meantime he's been ordered to report to prison on November 15th.

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