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Five New York police officers arrested in gun-smuggling sting

October 25, 2011 | 10:38 am

Five New York City police officers have been arrested and charged with operating a smuggling ring that trafficked in firearms, cigarettes and slot machines, according to federal documents made public on Tuesday.

The five, who are assigned to Brooklyn commands, were among 12 people charged in a federal complaint released by the office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Bharara, New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Diego Rodriguez, the special agent in charge of the criminal division in the FBI’s New York office, will hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon to formally announce the arrests after the defendants appear in court on the conspiracy and weapons charges.

Three now-retired New York police officers and a New Jersey corrections officer are also among the defendants, according to the complaint. The remaining three defendants are civilians.

The arrests are based on a sting operated by the FBI and the New York police internal affairs unit.

The complaint says that a confidential informant tipped off authorities in 2009 about the movement of stolen goods and, in the following months, the informant and an undercover officer began supplying the group with cigarettes for resale.

The defendants later agreed to transport 20 weapons -- three automatic rifles, a shotgun and 16 handguns, most of which had doctored serial numbers -- from New Jersey to New York using rented minivans, according to the complaint.

Four of the police officers were alleged to have received about $5,000 each to help move the weapons, the federal complaint charges.

According to the complaint, when the confidential informant was introduced to one of the officers, that officer was described as a person who could fix parking tickets. This has led to speculation that the arrests might be connected to an ongoing investigation in the Bronx into a police misconduct case involving ticket-fixing.

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— Michael Muskal

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