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Former Manchester police officer faces charges in drug case

MANCHESTER — A former city police officer who received an honorable service medal is scheduled to face criminal charges in federal court Tuesday.

The former officer, Joseph Cespedes, reportedly assisted drug dealers in New Hampshire.

U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire John Kacavas declined to confirm the charges against Cespedes on Monday night or to provide any additional information about the case.

“I can’t say anything beyond that there’s a press conference tomorrow,” he said. “The case is under seal.”

A hearing for Cespedes is to be held at U.S. District Court in Concord at 11 a.m. today, to be followed by a news conference attended by Kacavas, Manchester Police Chief David Mara and officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Mara did not return a call for comment on Monday night.

Cespedes received an honorable service medal in 2011, along with three other officers for their roles in preventing a woman from committing suicide by jumping off a bridge.

Cespedes was credited with engaging the woman in an extended conversation while a fellow officer positioned himself to pull her from the ledge.

Cespedes joined the Manchester force in 2007 when he was 30 years old, after serving as a New York City police officer for five years, according to an article that year in the Union Leader. Cespedes was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y.; he and his wife had four children, the article said.

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