Joseph Recca, is the NYPD officer who was busted in a Long Island drug distribution ring. Facts have emerged that a cell phone found alongside a drug overdose victim helped Long Island cops ring up a city cop on drug-dealing charges.
Hulking, heavily-tattooed NYPD veteran Joseph Recca and his two partners in a suburban painkiller ring were busted after text messages between the dead man and the officer were discovered on the phone, authorities said Wednesday.
Recca, 28, of West Islip, along with co-defendants Michael Sosa of Brentwood and Michael Corbett of West Islip, face a range of charges including conspiracy, drug sales and drug possession, officials said.
Recca, who lumbered out of a Suffolk County courtroom flanked by court officers, was also charged with unauthorized use of a computer and official misconduct for allegedly running license plates using NYPD databases. More than once, the five-year veteran ran the plates of what turned out to be unmarked police surveillance vehicles, prosecutors said.
“Essentially what you have here is the supplier, defendant Sosa, supplying drugs to defendant Recca, a police officer, who is then supplying drugs to defendant Corbett, who then in turn is supplying drugs to end users,” said Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini. “… It was $15 a pill, hundreds of pills at a time.”
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Prosecutors said the investigation began after cops found the phone alongside a Copiague man who fatally overdosed Sept. 3, 2019. The cellphone contained the exchanges between Recca and the victim.
Recca allegedly knew Sosa from a local bodybuilding gym, while Sosa and Corbett knew each other from their Long Island neighborhood, said Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart.
A search of the cop’s personal car yielded 100 oxycodone pills in a hidden compartment and a pair of cellphones. At his house, detectives found $10,000 in cash, financial records, steroids and drug paraphernalia.
An autopsy showed the victim, who was not identified Wednesday, had fentanyl, ethanol and oxycodone in his system at death. Detectives began surveillance after the overdose in an effort to determine the source of the drugs, and were soon aware of the three suspects’ illegal interactions, officials said.
“They included quantities, payments and arrangements to meet,” prosecutor Kristin Barnes said. “(Recca) admitted in a written statement to law-enforcement that he was purchasing oxycodone pills (from) Sosa and reselling them to Corbett.”
In Sosa’s home, a search uncovered a .9 mm “ghost” handgun, 376 oxycodone pills, $31,800 in cash, packaging material, records and a cellphone. Corbett’s house contained 110 oxycodone pulls, $33,455 in cash, scales, drug packaging and a cellphone.
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Recca, though not directly linked to the overdose, was selling drugs to the dead man, authorities said.
The cop, who said little during the hearing, was released without bail under supervised release and his whereabouts will be tracked electronically. His lawyer argued without success against the monitor, noting this was his client’s first arrest — an argument that fell on deaf ears.
“It’s a sad day that I find myself sitting in the arraignment of a police officer,” said Judge James Saladino. “I would recommend you get an attorney, you’re going to need one, and a good one at that.”
While the NYPD had no comment, the cop’s dad told reporters he was stunned by the arrest.
“I’m shocked just as much as everyone else,” said Jim Recca. “He’s just a great guy, that’s all I can say. I’m his dad. I just don’t want to comment, I’m sorry guys. I just don’t wanna say anything I shouldn’t say. But he’s a great guy and hopefully this will all go away.”
Recca is slated to return to court July 27. Corbett was also released without bail. Sosa was ordered held pending $100,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.
Hart noted that Recca’s NYPD job stood in stark contrast to law enforcement promises to end the opioid epidemic that hasclaimed the lives of so many Long Islanders.
“Together, law enforcement will continue to hold officers like Recca accountable for the damage they inflict not only on the communities they swore to protect, but to the badge that we are all so proud to wear,” said Hart.