Ex-Cop Pleads Guilty to Running Guns, Stolen Goods

February 16, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

BAY RIDGE – The shocking case involving two retired 68th Precinct cops charged with illegally transporting guns and stolen goods across state lines appears to be heading toward a rapid resolution.

Nine days after William Masso, the alleged ringleader of the gun running operation, pleaded guilty, Marco Venezia, one of the two former 68th Precinct officers arrested in connection with the explosive case of police corruption, admitted his guilt.

On Feb. 15, Venezia, 46, pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to illegally transport guns, including M-16 rifles and handguns, and stolen goods, such as slot machines and cigarettes, from New Jersey to New York, said U.S. Attorney Bhara Preet.

The specific charges Venezia pleaded guilty to are one count of conspiracy to transport firearms interstate and one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods interstate.

Masso pleaded guilty on Feb. 9.

The case against another retired 68th Precinct officer, Joseph Trischitta, is still pending.

Venezia, who entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stean, will be sentenced in federal court on June 21. He has also agreed to pay a judgment of $8,000, according to Preet. The amount represents what Venezia earned in the illegal operation as well as his interest in four guns seized from his home when he was arrested, Preet said.

David Kanwisher, a New Jersey correction officer, also pleaded guilty on Feb. 15, Preet announced.

“As law enforcement officers, Marco Venezia and David Kanwisher were supposed to uphold the law, not break it. They betrayed their duties in order to make a quick profit, and now they will pay for their crimes,” Preet said.

The suspects were arrested in October. Transporting firearms and stolen goods illegally across state lines is a federal crime.

The scheme, which involved the participation of a total of 12 law enforcement officers, was carried out from 2009 to 2011, Preet said.

The suspects were brought down with the help of an FBI informer, Preet explained. The informer posed as a man who was interested in dealing  stolen cigarettes. The scheme later grew to involve transporting guns, slot machines and other items.

The arrests of Venezia and Triscitta shocked and saddened Bay Ridge civic leaders. The two men had served as community affairs officers at the 68th Precinct until their retirement in 2010.

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