Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Five NYPD Officers Caught In Gun Trafficking Bust

Five active members of the New York City Police Department were among a dozen people arrested early this morning as part of a gun trafficking investigation.

The U.S. Attorney's office says it comes after a year-long sting operation involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau.

The officers arrested are identified as William Masso, 47, of Brooklyn, Eddie Goris, 31, of Queens, Ali Oklu, 35, of Queens and John Mahoney, 26, of Staten Island.

Three retired NYPD officers, a corrections officer from New Jersey and three civilians were also arrested.

The defendants are accused of trafficking three M-16 rifles, one shotgun and 16 handguns -- a majority of which had their serial numbers removed or altered.

Additionally, investigators say they also tried to transport slot machines, stolen cigarettes, and counterfeit goods across state lines.

The items carry an estimated street value of over $1 million.

"It is not pleasant to investigate, arrest and prosecute and punish your fellows in law enforcement that took the same oath that you took," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.

According to the complaint, the officers used their badges to pretend that the smuggling operation was merely part of a delivery of auction goods.

Officer Masso, the suspected leader of the conspiracy, allegedly told undercover agents that an army of active and retired officers could regularly deliver the items.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says three of the accused officers were assigned to the 68th precinct in Brooklyn, one was assigned to the 71st precinct and a fourth worked as a member of the Brooklyn South Task Force.

"What is outlined in the complaint, was a betrayal of his oath of the highest order," Kelly said.

In a statement, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York office called the crimes "reprehensible," noting, "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."

All of the defendants were set to appear in federal court this afternoon.

The most serious charge carries a 10-year prison sentence.

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