City cops charged in smuggling ring
They are supposed to carry guns for protection — not sell them for wads of cash.
Eight NYPD officers were arrested yesterday morning by the feds for smuggling guns, cigarettes and slot machines into New York as part of an elaborate ring, according to the FBI.
The officers, five active and three retired, smuggled in everything from M-16 rifles to handguns and one shotgun, agents said. The officers conspired to pass off guns with rubbed-off serial numbers across state lines, allege FBI agents. One of the police officers even bragged he could supply a thug for hire.
“A number of men once charged with enforcing the law are now charged with breaking it,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said yesterday. The FBI made the arrests after a two-year investigation.
The five active-duty officers arrested are William Masso, 47, Eddie Goris, 31, John Mahoney, 26, Ali Oklu, 35, and Gary Ortiz, 27. The cops worked at Brooklyn precincts in Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Crown Heights.
The three retired officers are Joseph Trischitta, 42, Marco Venezia, 46, and Richard Melnik, 42, and two were on active duty while allegedly involved in the ring, officials said.
Agents reported the black-market sales as recently as Oct. 5, when they said Masso paid an undercover FBI agent $147,600, his share from stolen cigarettes.
According to the complaint, Masso promised he could get anything, a “retired cop, ex-cop, bad guy.”
He added, “You want a guy who beats the s— out of somebody who bothers him, we got that.”
Mayor: Officers a ‘betrayal’
new york. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made stopping illegal gun and cigarette trafficking two of his top priorities as mayor, called the arrests yesterday “a disgraceful and deplorable betrayal of the public trust.” “Our city has lost too many people — and too many police officers — to criminals who buy guns illegally,” he said.
Another black eye for NYPD
new york. Last week, the FBI arrested an officer for civil rights violations after they said he arrested a black man for racial reasons. In August, Michael Pena, an off-duty cop, was arrested after a woman claimed he raped her. Bronx prosecutors indicted 17 officers in September after officials said they fixed parking tickets for friends and family members.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.