Joe Bruno on the Mob – NYPD Cops Arrested in a Gun Smuggling Ring
Just when you thought the public relations nightmare the NYPD has suffered recently, caused by crooked cops planting drugs on innocent people, was nearing an end, the NYPD and it’s beleaguered Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, get hit with another devastating body blow. And this one might be fatal for some.
Five active duty cops and three retired cops were arrested by the FBI for allegedly smuggling guns, cigarettes and slot machines into New York from out of state. In all, 12 people were arrested and charged with conspiracy to transport firearms and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen merchandise.
The active duty cops arrested were William Masso from the 68th Precinct, Eddie Goris and John Mahoney, also of the 68th Precinct; Ali Oklu of the Brooklyn South Task Force; and Gary Ortiz of the 71st Precinct station house. The retired cops who were pinched were Joseph Trischitta, Marco Venezia and Richard Melnik, all of whom previously were assigned to the the 68th Precinct.
It all started in 2009 when Masso was introduced to an informant who was told Masso could fix a parking ticket for him. One thing led to another and soon Masso and his crew were involved in several illegal endeavors, which culminated in them being unwittingly involved in a sting operation to purchase firearms, which they intended to sell on the streets of NY City. These firearms included M-16 assault rifles and handguns, some of which had “obliterated” serial numbers. Unbeknownst to the crooked cops, all of the firearms were inoperable, and used only as part of a elaborate sting to trick the cops into acting in an illegal manner.
Reeling from all the NYPD police officers being arrested in the past few months, for one illegal activity or another, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a press conference, “Masso represents a betrayal of the highest order of an officer’s oath.”
Mayor Bloomberg put his two cents in when he proclaimed, “Our city has lost too many people – and too many police officers – to criminals who buy guns illegally, including Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews, who were killed trying to take illegal guns off the street in 2003. Our administration is taking every possible step to crack down on illegal guns and continue making the safest big city in the country even safer.”
Then Bloomberg added, “The NYPD is the finest police department in the world, and these arrests do nothing to diminish the selfless commitment of the 35,000 men and women who put on a uniform every day, and who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”
Finest police department in the world? Who’s Bloomberg kidding?
Too many bad things have happened in the past few months within the NYPD for Bloomberg to make such a blanket, and boarderline-ridiculous statement like that. Sure the vast majority of New York City policemen and policewoman do their jobs in a fair and competent manner. Some ever go above and beyond the call of duty. But there seems to be an inherent sense of privilege, even arrogance, in the NYPD that allows certain cops to think that they can get away with almost anything.
And no matter what Kelly and Bloomberg say, this problem starts at the top.
President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The buck stops here.”
Well in the NYPD, the buck stops at Kelly, and the man who hired Kelly was Bloomberg, who, no matter how hard he tries to spin this, is culpable here too. I find it hard to fathom this corruption, we’ve seen lately in the NYPD, would have happened on Rudy Giuliani’s watch.
Somehow Bloomberg, against previous city rules, got himself elected for a third consecutive term as mayor. He’ll be out of office soon, and he should take Kelly with him. Or Kelly should leave sooner of his own volition. The NYPD needs a complete house cleaning, and it should start with the appointment of a new police commissioner.
People may say Kelly is certainly not directly responsible for what has happened in the past few months. He can’t have eyes and ears everywhere, and he can’t control the actions of a few rogue cops. I say maybe Kelly has unwittingly allowed a culture to fester in his department that allows certain cops to think they are above the law. In sports, when a manager or head coach has a losing season, or two — he gets fired. It should be no different here.
Kelly should step down and allow a new face to take over the NYPD. Someone who was not previously a New York City police officer himself, like Kelly was. The NYPD needs a new sheriff in town, preferably from out of town, to clean up this mess that is now the New York City Police Department.
Kelly. Bloomberg. Are you listening?
The article below can be seen at:
NYPD cops among 12 arrested in $1M gun smuggling sting
By AMBER SUTHERLAND and BRUCE GOLDING
Last Updated: 6:55 PM, October 25, 2011
Posted: 8:10 AM, October 25, 2011
Call them the bootleggers in blue.
Eight current and former city cops were part of a $1 million ring that smuggled guns, cigarettes and slot machines into New York from out of state, the feds charged today.
The 12 defendants — including five active-duty officers NYPD officers based in Brooklyn — were busted this morning on charges including conspiracy to transport firearms and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen merchandise.
The weapons included M-16 assault rifles and handguns, some of which had “obliterated” serial numbers, according to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.
All of the firearms had been rendered inoperable, however, as part of an elaborate sting operation to snare the allegedly crooked cops.
“Our city has lost too many people – and too many police officers – to criminals who buy guns illegally, including Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews, who were killed trying to take illegal guns off the street in 2003,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our administration is taking every possible step to crack down on illegal guns and continue making the safest big city in the country even safer.
“The NYPD is the finest police department in the world, and these arrests do nothing to diminish the selfless commitment of the 35,000 men and women who put on a uniform every day, and who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”
The early-morning arrests capped an undercover investigation that began in late 2009 after an FBI informant was introduced to one cop — William Masso of the 68th Precinct station house — “as a person who could ‘fix’ the [informant’s] traffic tickets,” the court papers say.
But a law-enforcement official told The Post that the probe was “totally unrelated” to the massive NYPD ticket-fixing scandal currently under investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.
Sources have said that a grand jury has voted indictments against at least 17 cops in that case.
In addition to Masso, the other active-duty cops named in today’s federal complaint are Eddie Goris and John Mahoney, also of the 68th Precinct; Ali Oklu of the Brooklyn South Task Force; and Gary Ortiz of the 71st Precinct station house.
Three retirees from the 68th — Joseph Trischitta, Marco Venezia and Richard Melnik — and former Sanitation Police officer Anthony Santiago were also arrested, along with New Jersey Corrections Officer David Kanwisher and two friends of Santiago’s, Michael Gee and Eric Gomer.
Law enforcement officials said that In a March 2011 meeting with the ring, Masso said they should carry their police badges and if stopped say they were cops working off-duty to deliver items purchased at auction.
Masso told an informant in July that a shotgun he had provide was just a “sample” and that he could get anything “from A to Z,” officials said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, dealing with latest stain on the NYPD’s reputation, said Masso represents “a betrayal of the highest order of an officer’s oath.”
“These crimes are without question, reprehensible – particularly conspiring to import untraceable guns and assault rifles into New York. The public trusts the police not only to enforce the law, but to obey it,” added the FBI’s New York Assistant Director Janice Fedarcyk.
“These crimes, as alleged in the complaint, do nothing but undermine public trust and confidence in law enforcement. We are committed to continuing to work with the Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD to root out corruption, wherever it may be.”