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Federal and Suffolk County officials announced indictments against 11 people Wednesday — including three Nassau County police officers
The indictments were in connection to an alleged drug distribution ring in Long Island, prosecutors say
The indictments come after a months-long wiretapping grand jury investigation, prosecutors say
Federal and Suffolk County officials announced indictments against 11 people Wednesday — including three Nassau County police officers — in connection to an alleged drug distribution ring in Long Island.
Nassau County District Attorney Timothy Sini announced four indictments that were a result of a wiretapping grand jury investigation. Three of the indictments were in connection to a drug distribution ring, which included two Nassau County police officers, operating in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Additionally, a fourth indictment against another Nassau cop and his wife where in connection to an alleged robbery conspiracy that was part of the drug ring was also announced.
According to Sini, who was accompanied by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Suffolk County Police Department and members of his office’s Narcotics Bureau, the months-long investigation led to the discovery that Daniel Caceras, 29, of Port Jefferson Station, was allegedly running a drug ring, which distributed marijuana, cocaine, heroin, Xanax and other drugs.
Officials say that Caceras was dealing drugs as early as October 2016 by purchasing packages of marijuana and other drugs and having those packages delivered to co-conspirators, including Erik Skogland and Karen Ernst, two Nassau County police officers, who Sini says received almost 100 pounds of marijuana from Caceras with their consent.
According to Sini, Skogland would either then deliver the packages to Caceras or Caceras would pick them up.
Sini says that texts between Skogland and Caceras also show them joking about their involvement in the drug ring.
Additionally, in collaboration with the DEA and U.S. Postal Service Inspector General, 11 locations were identified related to Caceras’ alleged drug ring, which lead to subsequent search warrants. According to officials, these search warrants produced fire arms, pounds of cocaine and other illicit drugs, packaging material and scales, among other possible drug-related items.
On June 4, Skoglund and Ernst were arrested on narcotics charges in Suffolk County following the grand jury investigation. They were two of a total of nine individuals arrested on state narcotics charges that day.
Additionally, officials say that Caceras also conspired with two other individuals to rob the Jake’s 58 Hotel and Casino in Islandia. The two alleged co-conspirators were Bruce Moeller, a Nassau County cop, and his wife Christina, who was an employee at the casino.
According to court documents, it was between March 1 and June 4 that the couple conspired to commit robbery.
Prosecutors say that the three had two plans — one was to allegedly rob a high rolling patron and the other was to allegedly rob an armor truck at the casino.
According to Sini, it was in March that Christina texted her husband about a patron winning a lot of money, leading her husband and Caceras to arrive at the casino with guns in search of the patron.
Sini says that surveillance shows them arriving, Moeller showing his badge at the casino door and the two men looking for the patron unsuccessfully.
On June 12, Moeller and his wife was arrested and charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said local agencies will continue to “work together to make sure that our communities are free of illegal drugs” in an “unbiased” way.
Sini said he really couldn’t explain why a police officer with a good job in a good department “decides to violate that public trust,” adding that the Nassau County Police Department was cooperative and helpful throughout the investigation.
“It’s an outstanding police department with outstanding leadership,” he said. “You’re just going to have some bad apples."
Sini asserted: “The message here is that no one is above the law."
In a statement, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said that the department takes the accusations seriously, calling them extremely disappointing and disheartening to the department."
Ryder says the police department holds its members "to an exceptionally high standard and these individuals do not represent the professionalism and honesty exhibited by the men and women of the Nassau County Police Department."