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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

NYC Cop Conspired|to Sell Stolen Guns

MANHATTAN (CN) - A New York Police officer pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring with other cops to sell stolen guns with altered serial numbers across state lines.

William Masso, 47, of Brooklyn, was the ringleader of a group of cops who, like him, worked out the 68th Precinct in Brooklyn, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Masso pleaded guilty Monday to a four-count information charging him with conspiracy to transport guns across state lines, conspiracy to transport defaced firearms interstate, conspiracy to sell a gun to an out-of-state resident, and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen goods.

Masso also received and sold contraband cigarettes from an undercover FBI informant, who told him that the smokes had been stolen in another state, prosecutors said.

"From September 2010 to October 2011, the FBI supplied Masso and his coconspirators with goods that they were led to believe were stolen," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement announcing Masso's guilty plea. "Masso and his coconspirators transported the goods, including three M-16 rifles, one shotgun, and 16 handguns - the majority of which had been defaced to remove or alter the serial number - 12 slot machines, thousands of cartons of cigarettes, and other counterfeit merchandise across state lines. In total, the goods that Masso and his team illegally transported carried a street value of approximately $1 million.

"In preparing for, and carrying out this scheme, the defendants specifically discussed using their credentials and knowledge as law enforcement officers. For example, in a meeting on March 24, 2011, Masso explained that the men should carry their law enforcement badges during the operation and, if stopped, should say they were police officers working off-duty to deliver items another person had purchased at an auction."

Masso was originally charged in a four-count complaint along with these co-conspirators, prosecutors said: Eddie Goris and John Mahoney, who were also

active-duty NYPD officers in the 68th precinct; Ali Oklu, an active-duty NYPD officer on the Brooklyn South Task Force; Gary Ortiz, an active-duty NYPD officer in Brooklyn's 71st Precinct; Joseph Trischitta, Marco Venezia, and Richard Melnik, now-retired NYPD officers who worked in the 68th Precinct.

Also charged were former NYC Department of Sanitation Police Officer Anthony Santiago, then-active duty New Jersey Corrections Officer David Kanwisher, and associates Michael Gee and Eric Gomer.

Masso faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $50,000 fine at his June 15 sentencing.

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