FORMER WESTCHESTER COUNTY POLICE OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL EXTORTION AND BRIBERY CHARGES
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHAEL BRADY, 36, a former police officer with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport to federal charges related to his acceptance of cash payments in exchange for facilitating the transportation of narcotics trafficking proceeds through Westchester County Airport without detection.
“This defendant, a sworn law enforcement officer, took cash from a known drug dealer to allow the drug dealer to travel safely through airport security,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “I commend the DEA Task Force for shutting down a pipeline of highly-addictive prescription pills from Florida to Connecticut, and for bringing to justice this corrupt officer and others who contributed to the illegal scheme. I also want to thank the Westchester County Department of Public Safety for its assistance during the investigation.”
This matter stems from “Operation Blue Coast,” an investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force into the large-scale trafficking of oxycodone pills from Florida to Connecticut. The investigation revealed that an individual regularly purchased oxycodone from suppliers in Florida, transported the oxycodone to Connecticut by commercial airline or automobile, and sold the pills to various Connecticut-based narcotics traffickers. The narcotics trafficker traveled from Florida to Connecticut several times a week carrying up to 8000 oxycodone pills per trip. He then used drivers to transport him to and from narcotics transactions during which he would sell all of the pills he transported from Florida. After exchanging low-denomination currency for larger notes, he transported the proceeds of his oxycodone sales from Connecticut to Florida, either by having a courier drive the money or by using commercial airline flights.
According to court documents and statements made in court, BRADY was a Westchester County Police Officer who was often assigned to the Westchester County Airport. From approximately December 2010 to April 2011, BRADY received approximately $20,000 in cash payments from the oxycodone trafficker to ensure that he could carry large quantities of cash, the proceeds of his drug trafficking, through airport security at the Westchester Airport.
For example, in approximately December 2010, the drug trafficker called BRADY at the Westchester Airport and told him that he had been placed into a TSA secondary search due to a large quantity of cash that he was carrying. BRADY then approached the TSA screening area where the trafficker was being secondarily screened, inquired about why the individual was being searched and vouched for his legitimacy. BRADY remained at the secondary search throughout the screening.
Today, BRADY pleaded guilty to one count of extortion under color of right, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of receipt of a bribe by a public official, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven on May 10, 2012.
BRADY was arrested on September 13, 2011. He resigned from the Westchester County Department of Public Safety in November 2011.
A total of 20 individuals have been charged as a result of this investigation. As to the defendants who are awaiting trial, charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, which includes personnel from the Connecticut State Police and the Bridgeport, Milford, Norwalk, Stamford and Westport Police Departments; the Drug Enforcement Administration in Florida and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General. In addition, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Greenwich, Monroe, Danbury and Waterbury Police Departments have assisted the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Fein also acknowledged the cooperation of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the Florida Highway Patrol, and the substantial assistance provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
This case is being prosecuted in the District of Connecticut by Assistant United States Attorneys Rahul Kale and Tracy Lee Dayton.
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