Milwaukee police detective facing federal charges

MILWAUKEE (WITI) --  Milwaukee police detective Willie Huerta is being federally charged with obstruction for aiding a suspected drug dealer. He appeared in federal court on Wednesday, May 1st.

Huerta is on full suspension from the Milwaukee Police Department. He's accused of helping known drug dealer Julio Cruz, who is facing charges of cocaine trafficking.

The 20-page criminal complaint from the United States District Court says that Detective Huerta helped Cruz avoid possible arrest after being stopped by uniformed police in 2011.

In the complaint, a confidential informant was riding with Cruz when police pulled him over on January 24th, 2011. According to officers, the truck smelled of marijuana so they called for a drug sniffing dog. Before the dog was used, Cruz called Julio Cruz Jr., who called Detective Huerta, who then called his partner to call off the search.

Cruz had told the informant that an ounce of cocaine was hidden in the dashboard. The dog never searched the truck and Cruz was released. Phone records obtained by the FBI indicate how the phone calls took place in order to have the search stopped.

According to the complaint, the informant also told investigators that Cruz claimed to get information from a high ranking Milwaukee police officer who was working on a federal task force investigation drug dealing. Investigators also believe that Huerta was giving Cruz information on police activities.

Detective Huerta has been suspended with pay as the case moves forward. Both Cruz and his supplier have been charged with trafficking cocaine.