Several members of the New York City Police Department were arrested early on Tuesday and brought up on federal charges. The officers have been charged with gun trafficking and conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes.
The federal government alleges that at least eight members of the department, five who are still on the job and three who retired, were involved in smuggling handguns, assault rifles and shotguns, according to the New York Times. The officers, along with ex-New Jersey-corrections officer and three others, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau.
The arrests on Tuesday were based on charges that include conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines, conspiracy to transport defaced firearms across state lines, conspiracy to sell firearms across state lines and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen property across state lines, according to the New York Times.
It should also be noted that some of the of the serial numbers of these were weapons were removed. This led investigators to believe that these weapons were to be used for a future crime.
The five officers who are still with the NYPD all work in Brooklyn.
Officials informed the Associated Press about this incident on the condition of anonymity because this information has not been made public. The United States attorney for this case, Preet Bhara, is expected to announce the charges in a press conference with Diego Rodriguez, the head of the criminal division of New York's FBI office, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
These arrests come on the heels of several other arrests and scandals of NYPD officers in recent weeks. Corruption allegations have already been running rampant in the department, including a case in which 16 current NYPD officers are expected to be brought on charges for an alleged ticket-fixing scheme in the Bronx. The officers are accused of undoing paperwork on traffic violations as favors for friends, family, and even some government officials. In May, Commissioner Ray Kelly promised to form a new unit to oversee how citations were being processed, according to an article by the Associated Press.
Authorities of the Internal Affairs Bureau had uncovered evidence of the rampant ticket fixing scheme in the Bronx while investigating a narcotics case. Officers overheard information about on a wiretap and began recording several other suspected officers.
Last year, the department attempted to curtail ticket-fixing by installing new computers that makes it difficult to tamper with the paperwork.
In two other incidents, police officers were brought up on federal charges for civil rights violations. In one case last week in Staten Island, an office falsely arrested a black man and was caught on tape bragging about it while using a racial slur.
Here is a statement by U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara:
Early this morning, FBI agents and detectives from the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau effected the arrests of 12 men, all but two of whom are current or former law enforcement officers.
The arrests are the culmination of a long-term FBI undercover investigation.
The criminal complaint lays out a scheme of brazen misconduct that include the illegal transportation of stolen cigarettes and stolen slot machines, the illegal transportation firearms, and the illegal transportation of defaced firearms.
The weapons included three M-16 rifles, one shotgun, and 16 handguns. All of these crimes were seemingly committed for one simple reason: money.
For their participation in the various schemes--cigarettes, slot machines, guns--the defendants were paid handsomely.
What they didn't know was that two of the key members of the conspiracy were an FBI informant and an undercover operative introduced by the informant. It goes without saying that crimes of this sort are reprehensible--particularly conspiring to import untraceable guns and assault rifles into New York.
When sworn public servants of any stripe--but especially sworn law enforcement officers--abuse their positions and commit crimes, it undermines public confidence in all of us. Law enforcement officers are rightly held to a higher standard of conduct than the public at large. We accept that and embrace it.
It is fundamental to the work we do. At a very minimum, the public has the right to expect that those sworn to enforce the law will themselves abide by the law. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney and his staff. And
I want to emphasize the strong partnership with the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, Chief Campesi, and Commissioner Kelly.
And I want to commend the work of FBI case agents Kenneth Hosey and William Inzerillo and supervisors Robert Hennigan and Gavin Shea.