The mysterious disappearance of four men might be solved after four bodies were found buried on the rented property of an ex-police officer, authorities said on Tuesday.
Nicholas Tartaglione, a former Briarcliff Manor officer, was arrested on drug conspiracy charges on Monday and accused of killing Martin Santos Luna, 41, Urbano Morales Santiago, 32, Miguel Sosa Luna and Hector Gutierrez, 43, in a drug deal gone wrong.
“While all murders tear at the fabric of our communities, when the alleged perpetrator of a gangland-style, quadruple homicide is a former police officer, that strikes at the heart of civilized society,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Tartaglione, 49, faces five counts for conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and the “senseless murder” of the four men, according to Bharara.
The four men were reported missing on April 11 after they were last seen at the Chester Diner in Chester, New York, according to the village police. They were killed somewhere around the Likquid Lounge in Chester, a bar owned by Tartaglione’s brother, according to prosecutors.
Their bodies were discovered Tuesday, buried on property in Otisville which was rented by Tartaglione.
Tartaglione and some of the men had allegedly conspired to sell cocaine from June 2015 to April 2016. Bharara said some of the men were involved in the drug deal, but others “were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Tartaglione pleaded not guilty on Monday and faces a maximum of life in prison on the drug conspiracy charge and the possibility of the death penalty on each of the murder charges.
“The despicable acts of murder are more egregious in this case because the alleged murderer, a former police officer, once swore to serve and protect people from harm,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said.
Retired cop Nicholas Tartaglione charged with murder of 4 men and cocaine-dealing scheme pic.twitter.com/No1JsAigoK
— Kayla Mamelak (@KaylaMamelakTV) December 20, 2016