Five New York City police officers have been arrested for a sting operation of smuggling illegal guns and what they thought were stolen slot machines, cigarettes and counterfeit goods, the New York Daily News reports.
The five cops were busted by a confidential FBI informant and caught on tape discussing their alleged wrongdoing. "I'm getting a good army set up here," Officer William Masso bragged to the informant about his growing crew, the Daily News reports.
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There have been 12 suspects arrested, including the five current NYPD officers and three retired cops, CBS News reports. The investigation was conducted by the FBI and NYPD Internal Affairs unit over the past two years.
A criminal complaint released Tuesday details the scheme put together by officers from Brooklyn’s 68th Precinct, the Daily News reports. A confidential informant tipped off authorities that a New York City police officer was looking to make money by transferring stolen goods, according to the complaint, CBS reports.
Following the initial complaint, the informant and undercover officer involved began supplying the defendants with cigarettes and other stolen goods for resale, the Associated Press reports. Towards the end of the scheme the defendants agreed to transport 20 weapons from New Jersey to New York using rented mini-vans. The weapons included three automatic rifles, a shotgun and 16 handguns, with their serial numbers defaced, AP reports. According to the complaint the undercover cop gave four of the officers about $5,000 each to move the guns.
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"It was good money. I needed it at the time," one of the defendants recorded told the informant, the Daily News reports.
The New York City police department declined to comment on the charges, Reuters reports. The defendants are scheduled to appear in court later today to face conspiracy and firearms charges, AP reports.
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