MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – The story of a cop going bad is always a painful news story for those who work in law enforcement. This one is no exception.
Law enforcement officials believe they’ve found the bodies of four men who disappeared months ago on property linked to the former officer who is accused of killing them at a bar in New York’s Hudson Valley, reported ABC7NY.
The men were all from Middletown, and disappeared without explanation last April. They were identified as Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna, and Hector Gutierrez.
Investigators received a break in the case this week. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday the arrest of 49-year-old Nicholas Tartaglione, a retired Briarcliff Manor police officer from Otisville in Orange County, New York. He’s been charged in a five-count indictment for allegedly selling cocaine and murdering the four men in or around Likquid Lounge in Chester in April, according to the report.
“While all murders tear at the fabric of our communities, when the alleged perpetrator of a gangland-style, quadruple homicide is a former police officer, that strikes at the heart of civilized society,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a news release.
Investigators believed human remains were present at the property linked to Tartaglione. So the State Police and the FBI obtained a search warrant.
After searching the property, they described it as a burial site. They recovered four bodies, which are believed to be the four men killed in Chester.
Court records disclosed the allegation that Tartaglione worked with others to sell at least five kilos of cocaine between June 2015 and April 2016. It was during a drug deal that prosecutors said he killed the four men. Some of the victim’s were part of the deal, others were not. Their roles were unspecified, although investigators believe the four victims knew each other.
Police had issued missing person notices after their disappearance. Their abandoned SUV was found shortly after they were reported missing.
“We hope the victims’ families and community find some solace in an arrest being made,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a news release.