An NYPD police officer and four others were arrested on federal charges of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Over the course of almost five years, Amaury Abreu, 34, was an alleged member of a multinational drug trafficking operation and used his position within the NYPD to "protect his co-conspirators," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York announced in a press release.
Dating back to Jan. 2016, prosecutors allege Abreu provided law enforcement information to others in the trafficking operation to conceal their actions and checked warrants on its members. In at least one instance, feds said, he distributed cocaine.
"Today I’m going to find out the thing I couldn’t yesterday because there were too many people at the office," Abreu said in one message to the traffickers, according to court records.
Officials from the FBI arrested Abreu, who was assigned to the 113th Precinct, at his Long Island home Monday morning, the district attorney's office said. He entered a plea of not guilty Monday afternoon in federal court and was released on a $1 million bond with home detention.
“There is no place for corruption in the NYPD and it will always be prosecuted fully. We commend our IAB investigators and law enforcement partners in this case,” a statement from NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea read.
Abreu was charged with conspiring to import and distribute cocaine. He did not yet have a defense attorney who could comment on the charges. He has been with the NYPD nine years and is suspended without pay, the Police Department said.
Seth DuCharme, the Brooklyn U.S. attorney, said in a statement that Abreu “disgraced his NYPD badge and betrayed the public trust as well as fellow members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line to interdict drugs that endanger our communities.”
Federal prosecutors also charged two high-ranking members of the New York-based group and the owner of a Long Island produce company accused of receiving cocaine concealed in cardboard tomato boxes.
Authorities said the ring also relied on help from a corrupt U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer to escort drug shipments through customs and baggage claim at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“Officer Abreu and his co-conspirators served as a direct pipeline for the importation and distribution of cocaine in our city, as we allege today. While Abreu’s principal role in the DTO was more behind the scenes than out on the street, his double-dealing method of providing information and guidance to those who were on the front line of the illegal enterprise put the lives and safety of both the citizens of this city and his fellow NYPD officers at risk,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said.