It looks like Eric Holder is going to get away with running guns into Mexico but not the expendable lackeys that make up the NYPD. The system has throw a group of active and retired NYPD police officers from the 68th precinct under the bus in this gun running, slot machine and cigarettes smuggling scheme.
A group of NYPD cops were busted in a sting operation for smuggling illegal guns and supposedly stolen slot machines, cigarettes and counterfeit goods, the feds said Tuesday.
A criminal complaint details schemes by a cabal at Brooklyn's 68th Precinct to betray their badges with help from on-the-job cops, retired officers and civilian pals.
"The complaint describes how a group of crime fighters took to moonlighting as criminals," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
"How a gang of police officers who should have been keeping guns off the street instead smuggled 20 firearms into the city, and how a number of men once charged with enforcing the law are now charged with breaking it."
Mayor Bloomberg said if the charges prove to be true "it would be a disgraceful and deplorable betrayal of the public trust."
The allegedly corrupt cops were snared by a confidential informant on the FBI payroll - and caught on tape hatching and carrying out the off-duty misdeeds.
"I'm getting a good army set up here," Officer William Masso, 47, bragged to the informant about his growing crew, according to one recording.
Prosecutors say Masso was the ringleader and met the informant in late 2009 when he was looking for someone who would "fix" traffic tickets.
Before long, the complaint says, Masso was offering to do a lot more than make a few summonses disappear.
By early 2010, Masso and the informant were talking about selling contraband, including illegal cigarettes, court papers say.
The cop said he had done it before - raking in $5,000 a week by selling cigarettes with fake tax stamps he got from an American Indian reservation.
"It was good money. I needed it at the time," he told the informant, according to a secretly recorded conversation.
He fantasized about hunting down the person who made the tax stamps.
"If I can get the f---ing stickers, do you know how much money you'll make with that?" Masso allegedly said.
In the ensuing months, Masso enlisted fellow 68th Precinct cops Eddie Goris and John Mahoney, Brooklyn South Task Force officer Ali Oklu and 71st Precinct cop Gary Ortiz in a number of criminal schemes, authorities said.
Three other cops with ties to the 68th Precinct were also arrested: Joseph Trischitta and Marco Venezia, who were working at the time but have since retired, and Richard Melnik, who was retired at the time.
Former Department of Sanitation cop Anthony Santiago and New Jersey correction officer, David Kanwisher, were also charged, along with two Santiago pals, Michael Gee and Eric Gomer, the complaint says.