68 cop pleads guilty to gun smuggling

February 7, 2012 Heather Chin
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Police Officer William Masso, formerly of the 68th Precinct inBay Ridge and Dyker Heights, pleaded guilty on Monday, February 6,to charges of leading a group of active-duty and retired officersin the illegal trafficking of firearms and stolen goods acrossinterstate lines from New Jersey to New York via the VerrazanoBridge. He is the first of a dozen individuals to have his caseresolved.

Masso, 47, was an active duty officer when he committed theoffenses, between late, 2009, and summer, 2011. Although hisactions are said to have occurred while off-duty, he and hiscohorts were caught on tape discussing using their credentials andknowledge as law enforcement officers to carry out their scheme,said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NewYork.

The items being transported included M-16 rifles, handguns withaltered serial numbers, stolen cigarettes and other counterfeitgoods.

Masso pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transportdefaced firearms interstate, one count of conspiracy to sell afirearm to an out-of-state resident, and one count of conspiracy totransport and receive stolen merchandise. As part of his plea deal,he agreed to pay $50,000 in crime proceeds and faces a maximumsentence of 20 years in prison when sentenced on June 15.

Charges are still pending against Police Officers Eddie Gorisand William Mahoney, also of the 68th Precinct, and retiredofficers Joseph Trischitta, Marco Venezia and Richard Melnik, alsofrom that precinct. Officer Gary Ortiz of the 71st Precinct inCrown Heights, Brooklyn South Task Force officer Ali Oklu, andSanitation officer Anthony Santiago also face charges. Twocivilians were also charged.

The 12 were arrested in October after a two-year FBI stingoperation.

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