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Former Bay Ridge cop sentenced in gun-running scheme

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A former community affairs officer for the 68th Precinct has been sentenced to 40 months in a federal prison for his role in a gun-running scheme led by another former cop at the Bay Ridge stationhouse.

Joseph Trischitta, who is retired from the New York Police Department, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Aug. 9 to 40 months in prison for taking part in a scheme involving the illegal interstate transport of firearms and stolen good across state lines, according to Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Trischitta was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.

“Joseph Trischitta’s sentencing today is the latest reminder of the consequences of public corruption. It does a disservice to the overwhelming majority of public servants who conduct themselves so honorably and to the people they serve,” Bharara said following the sentencing.

Trischitta was the last of the defendants who pleaded guilty to be sentenced. Twelve defendants were arrested. Eleven, including Trischitta, pleaded guilty to the charges. One defendant continues to maintain his innocence and will face a trial.

Former cop Marco Venezia, who also served as a community affairs officer at the 68th Precinct and worked alongside Trischitta, was sentenced to 24 months on July 26. He also pleaded guilty to the charges of illegally transporting items across state lines.

William Masso, who also worked at the 68th Precinct, was the ringleader, according to authorities. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on July 20 to 57 months.

From December 2010 to October 2011, Trischitta transported firearms and what he believed to be stolen goods, including slot machines, cigarettes and other merchandise, across state lines, authorities said.

At the time he was committing these offenses, Trischitta was on the Police Department payroll as a retired cop.

He had been recruited to join the conspiracy in December 2010 by Masso, authorities said.

Trischitta helped transport firearms, including three M-16 rifles, one shotgun and 16 handguns, the majority of which had been defaced to remove or alter the serial number, and all of which had been disabled, authorities said.

The goods carried a street value of approximately $1 million. 

The trips in which Trischitta participated included one to transport purportedly stolen slot machines from Atlantic City to New York, multiple trips to transport hundreds of cases of purportedly stolen cigarettes from New Jersey to New York, and the trip in which the 20 firearms were transported interstate. Trischitta was paid $11,500 for his role in the schemes, authorities said.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Pauley sentenced Trischitta, 43, of Staten Island, to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $50,000 fine and a $200 special assessment fee. Trischitta also has agreed to a money judgment of $11,500 representing his share of the crime proceeds, and has relinquished his interests in guns seized from him at the time of his arrest.

Trischitta was originally charged in a four-count criminal complaint, along with 11 co-conspirators, many of whom were fellow cops. All of the defendants have now pled guilty, except Ali Oklu, an active-duty cop at the time he allegedly committed the offenses. His trial is expected to take place in 2013.

August 15, 2012 - 11:55pm


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