U.S. Attorney: 'Gang' Of Cops Smuggled M-16s, Among Others, Into NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Five present and three former New York City cops are among 12 suspects under arrest in connection with a scheme to smuggle guns, cigarettes and slot machines into New York City.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa With More Details

“An officer who betrays his badge, betrays every honorable officer as well as every member of the public,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference. “A gang of police officers who should have been keeping guns off the street — instead smuggled 20 firearms into the city.”

To read the full complaint, click here.

The charges were released Tuesday in a detailed criminal complaint. The investigation was conducted by the FBI and NYPD Internal Affairs over the past two years.

The complaint says the officers involved “exploited their experience and credentials to assist in a variety of schemes involving illegal interstate transportation of goods.”

Charged in the case are active-duty officers William Masso and Eddie Goris of the 68th Precinct, Ali Oklu of the Brooklyn South Task Force, Gary Ortiz of the 71st Precinct and John Mahoney of the 68th Precinct.

Retired cops Joseph Trichietta, Marco Venezia and Richard Melnick are also charged.

Trichietta and Marco were both assigned to the 68th Precinct at the time of the alleged scheme, but have since retired. Melnick was already retired from the 68th Precinct during the investigation.

Former sanitation cop Anthony Santiago and New Jersey corrections officer David Kanwisher also face charges as well as civilians Michael Gee and Eric Gomer.

Tuesday evening, the defendants were each released on $100,000 personal recognizance bond.

“A case like this is disheartening to the entire department — people who are out there day in and day out doing, in my judgment, a great job,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

It all started when a confidential informant tipped off authorities that an NYPD cop was looking to make money by transporting stolen goods, according to the complaint.

Officials say the informant wanted to find someone to fix his traffic tickets and was told to speak with one of the defendants in the case, Officer Masso.

The complaint says Masso agreed to work out some kind of payment with the informant in the form of the resale of stolen cigarettes.

Over the next several months, the complaint says an undercover officer and the informant worked together to supply the defendants and others with cigarettes, that were supposedly stolen out-of-state, to be resold in New York.

They allegedly transported hundreds of cases of cigarettes stolen from trucks in Virginia before they were taken to New York.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell With Comment From The U.S. Attorney

Officials say as the suspects began smuggling cigarettes on a regular basis, the operation eventually started dealing in other goods, from handbags and clothing to slot machines and guns.

The suspects allegedly transported slot machines to Port Chester, N.Y., that were believed to be stolen from Atlantic City, according to the complaint.

It says the defendants then began transporting weapons, which included M-16 rifles, a shotgun and 16 handguns, from New Jersey to New York in rented mini-vans.

The undercover gave four of the police officers about $5,000 each to help transport the guns, according the complaint.

Prosecutors say the serial numbers on the majority of those guns were altered or obliterated and that the weapons had “been rendered inoperable by the FBI” and were never a danger to the public.

“The most disturbing aspect of this sting was that, according to the complaint, William Masso actually saw what he must have certainly believed were functioning guns,” Kelly said. “He had no way of knowing that the guns to be transported had been rendered inoperable. It was a betrayal of the highest order of an officer’s oath.”

Five of the cops are currently working in various precincts in Brooklyn and three were retired, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman. Also charged in the case is a corrections officer from New Jersey and three others.

The street value of slot machines, cigarettes and weapons, officials said, was in excess of $1 million.

“These crimes are without question, reprehensible – particularly conspiring to import untraceable guns and assault rifles into New York,” Janice Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge for the FBI in New York, said in a statement. “The public trusts the police not only to enforce the law, but to obey it. These crimes, as alleged in the Complaint, do nothing but undermine public trust and confidence in law enforcement.”

This latest investigation comes on the heels of  17 police officers being indicted in September in a ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx.

More than 500 officers have been linked to the scandal. Those involved are accused of taking cash, alcohol and other gifts for fixing the tickets.

It’s still unclear whether the reference to ticket-fixing has any connection to the Bronx investigation.

Please share your thoughts below…

Comments (52)
  1. Justice! says:

    If Guilty, their punishment should include being locked in a room with the families of every victim of a murder that an illegal gun was used in. If they make it out then they will be sentenced by the court.

  2. lulu says:

    I blame it on the French. They shipped all the hookers over here at the behest of DSK. 2. Cops need to frequent certain people and places in order to obtain information about what’s going on there . 3. with criminals bribing informants with drugs and spying on journalists, new measures need officers to be supervised.

  3. Hip hop hamburger says:

    They are black or brown cops who sold the guns to the black or brown community. Another great job by our oppressed minority friends!

  4. Sharon S. says:

    Hope they all get the maximum penalty. The only good cop is a dead cop. Who exactly are they protecting?

  5. Carla Jen McCarthy says:

    Whatever happened to all the good in this world? That’s what i want to know. This is what i don’t like about the NYPD. And it kind of makes my uncle look bad since he use to be a cop.

    1. Jeanie says:

      Cops raping drunk women. Cops planting drugs. NYPD cop steals and kills drug dealer in Miami. Cops illegally spraying protesters on wall street. Cops getting oral from crack whores. Cops fixing tickets. Cops frisking people and writing tickets and making arrests just to make quotas. Cops downgrading crimes. Cops botty dancing at west indian parade on video. I am sure there’s so much more police corruption being hidden from us… ladies and gentleman, this is today’s NYPD !

      1. Mr Lenore says:

        No matter what the cops do the blacks will will always be worse, I blame the corrupt blacks for the corrupt cops

  6. bullett says:

    The ranks of the NYPD just opened up a few more spots to new recruits.

    1. Be Weary of NYPD says:

      Really? Who would want a police job? Risk your precious life to be a cop? I don’t think so.

      And do you see how many NYPD cops have been in trouble just in the past week – cops fixing tickets in the Bronx, NYPD cop killing and stealing from a drug dealer in Miami, cops getting oral sex from crack addicted whores, cops planting illegal drugs on people, cops illegally spraying protesters at the wall street rally, cops making arrests and writing tickets just to make quotas… it just doesn’t stop. Everyday something else about NYPD cops getting in trouble!

      The police commissioner needs to get a handle on this or resign!

  7. mj says:

    HOW long ca this go on ?EVERY day there is a new police scandle. WHAT is it going to take before the police do something about the criminals within their ranks ?

    1. J Gomez says:

      Really every day? Please list us the 14 incidents in the last 14 days.

      Bad apples my friend…..I know a lot of cops and they despise this sort of thing. They believe in their jobs and who they protect at the risk of their own health or even lives. You should do a ride along one of these days….you will learn very quickly how incorrect your thinking is.

  8. The Realist says:

    How can a cop be arrested for anything? George Bush himself declared ALL police officers to be Legally Designated Heroes, and thus FULLY EXEMPT FROM ALL LAWS.

    1. No Minorities in FDNY!! says:

      I didn’t know that. Where can I read up on that statement? I thought it was the NYC Firefighters that he was talking about.

      1. Fdny royalty says:

        Lmao..,Like my father always said if you wanna be a hero go into the fire academy

  9. Joe E B says:

    Not a big surprise. he 68th precinct is 80 percent corrupt. If internal affairs and the FBI wanted to, they could make a lot more arrests of cops at the 68.

    1. Retired from the Job says:

      Not just the 68th precinct. There are many more bad cops out there and the police dept knows it, but the IAB unit refuses to do anything about it because it gives them a black eye and shows them in a negative way. They hope it just goes away…

      Thank god for the feds who made this bust and hopefully the feds look into more cases of police corruption and make more busts like this because there are definitely more corrupt new york city officers out there. Don’t ask me how I know… I just know!

      1. Retired from the job was never on the job! says:

        Not retired from the job, have you not been reading the papers? There is nothing but bad cop stories in them. Blame it on Ray Kelly. Mike Bloomberg and the lower standards crowd. The NYPD has become an embarassment and I feel badly for the good cops who are being tarred with the same brush that these gun runners, rapists and drug runners. you were never on the job and you probablly are a buff who hangs out in cop bars to be near them. You know what you read and nothing else.

  10. EBJ says:

    With these smuggler gun running types. the ones who shake down and frisk minority innocent citizens. the ones who arrest innocent persons on trumped up cahrges, those who gun down unarmed suspects and innocent minority males. the good ones are few and far between ;. probably in the cracks..Angelic types do not apply or qualify to be COPS.

  11. Enrico says:

    You can’t lump all cops in the same catogory as those in the story. True there are many that abuse their authority , but lets not forget those that risk their lives everyday. I lost a friend that died in the line of duty because he chose to not look the other way.

  12. Think says:

    All u idiots talking about the NYPD. Don’t call them when you need help. Talking a lot of trash. There is always somebody that slip into the crack. This is not the perfect world you r living in. Eventually the bad one will get caught. Don’t just everyone else by this morons action.

  13. Meme Meyagi says:

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  14. SMDH says:

    Dirty cops should receive no mercy from the courts. Max them out!

    1. setanta says:

      and what gives with only 100Gs personal recog. ? they should be over in punk city awaiting trial.

  15. Gilda Provenzano says:

    You idiots here think it is just 8!? TIP OF THE ICEBERG!! You people have NO CLUE!!

  16. NYC42A says:

    This just proves that as long as there is a demand for guns there will always be someone to supply them even if it means the only people allowed to have them are law enforcement. Mr. Bloomberg should drop the propaganda smokescreen which is “guns are the root of all evil”. If he did this even for a moment he might see how bad his policies are. He needs to stop wasting taxpayer money on nonsense like bike lanes and pedestrian malls and put the money where it is needed like crime prevention and education. The sooner he takes responsibility for his failed policies the better. Unfortunately, this incident is going to make him the laughing stock of the country.

  17. John says:

    There used to be an old saying , if you see one rat , there are 50 more that you do not see.

    1. Gilda Provenzano says:

      You said it! Cops and firefighters get away with so much crap. And as far as blaming the Mayor? I don’t like him but this has been going on for decades. I said two weeks ago on Yahoo that something else will be coming up with dirty cops and here it is!

  18. Johnny Handsome says:

    Being a cop in the City of New York is the best front for criminal activity you can ever have. With the exception of random crimes – shootings, robberies, some rapes – you will find a wall of blue behind a lot of criminal enterprise in this fair city. I’m not saying that all cops are crooked – they aren’t – but you’d be hard pressed to find a working cop who didn’t know of a fellow officer involved in some sort of crime. Which makes the innocent just as guilty.

  19. Lets bring it on back! says:

    Lets face it, some Italian Cops are wannabe Mobsters, some Hispanic Cops become rapists and are involved in the drug trade, some Black Cops get involved in Naroctics operations,some Asian Cops, especially the Pakis, are habitually drunken sex fiends. Lets bring back the old days of the Irish Cop on the Pad who still did his job when it came to victim crimes. Yeah, he took money do not see some things, but he was feared by the local criminals.

    1. maria pichardo says:

      Your an idiot!

      1. Gilda Provenzano says:

        Maria. I second that. Must be a pig. As in cop. White cops got away with raping that woman a few months ago.

        1. Wrong again Gilda. says:

          They were Hispanics, you Idiot!

  20. Code Blue says:

    It seems NYPD hiring practice over the past 8 years has been highly questionable.
    More dirt bags have been hired then at any other time in the departments history. Most of the rookies have little or no respect for their senior officers. Many are promoted to quickly without proper experience. All they seem to want is money,and it’s never enough.

  21. anonymous says:

    And this, at the same time innocent New Yorkers (especially Brooklynites in poor neighborhoods) are getting caught in the crossfire of gangsta-ruled fantasies in the minds of fools with their pants on the ground! Wait until some politico’s kid or parent accidently gets shot. Last week, I awoke to the sound of three distinct gunshots. When I asked a cop about it, he said that was someone with a new gun, testing it out on the roof. GREAT!

    So let me get this straight… NYPD officers are bringing these into the neighborhoods, and then what? They get to do overtime to “get the guys with the guns?”

    I’ve been watching, from my window, people buying illegal cigarettes out of an old car which NEVER moves, even though it’s parked at a metered spot. I always figured the cops were just looking the other way. Now, I think it’s the cops who are benefitting from it.

    Can we NOT get our act together in this city? MUST we return to the mentality and habits of the 70s? Oh Warriors…. come out to pla-ay!

  22. Att. Hoar says:


  23. Jimmney says:

    With cop like these who needs criminals!

  24. Tommy says:

    NYPD are dirty, always have been, always will be. Not every one of them but enough of them that the rotten spoil the whole barrel.

  25. Tommy says:

    NYPD are scum, always have been, always will be. Not every one of them but enough of them that the rotten spoil the whole barrel.

  26. Scott Tudehope says:

    i have never trusted law enforcement and here’s yet one more reason why…as if I needed one.

    1. Scott says:

      They are excellent at lying, cheating and stealing……..that is for sure.

  27. john says:

    40,000 cops in new york city, and 8 are arrested…. now everything thinks all 40,000 nyc cops are corrupt evil doers, makes sense right?

    1. Slim Pickens says:

      How many more are macing and cracking heads of peaceful demonstrators in lower manhattan? The NYPD is earning a reputation now and it is not one to be proud of in a land of supposed democracy.

  28. Peter says:

    Please take there Pension away. 🙁 ==== $$$$$

    1. predictable says:

      stop hating,..broke a**

  29. Cos says:

    This is why the ability for law abiding citizens to obtain a lawful firearm in NYC is infringed. I’ve been saying for years now that police evidence rooms have to be missing quite a few objects that we aren’t told about. Far be it from me to suggest that all NYCPD is like this. However, I have known quite a few in my day and about 70% of the ones I knw were/are involved in something they shouldn’t be. But no… It’s the fireamrs dealer in North Carolina who gets blamed for the illegal guns on the street – not the criminals.

  30. yousandi says:

    Sources say the guns were inoperable and never a danger to the public???? Are you kidding me!!!!

    And People want to know how are kids are getting guns on the Street…SMFH!!!

  31. Sean Felder says:

    Lot of corruption going on with the NYPD,you see why the Black and Lation communities is losing faith in them.What happen to protect and serve the community?

    1. peter wilson says:

      good thing the NYPD makes sure that the cops in the precincts are representative of the communities they serve. That’s right, if for example a community with a population where there is 60% Black, 20%Hispanic, 10%white and 10% asian, then a precinct consisting of 100 cops would consist of 60 black cops, 20 hispanic cops, 10 white and 10 asian cops.

      thats why there are much more asian cops in chinatown, more west indie cops in crown heights, polish cops in williamsburg etc. etc.

      Hmmmm, interesting to know. So, its good to know who they are losing faith in. hahahahahah

      1. Johnny Handsome says:

        Really Peter? In what omniverse are you living in?

      2. peter wilson says:

        either way, they should and will make examples out of these idiots.

  32. bryan says:

    Weapons were “inoperable”. Yeah right.

  33. Kazoo says:


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