PLATTEKILL, N.Y. — A police officer with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has been arrested on charges of manufacturing guns at his upstate home and selling them to motorcycle gang members.
Gregg Marinelli, 38, is also charged with tipping off a suspect in a major drug investigation, state police and the Orange County District Attorney’s office said.
As a result of the investigation, Marinelli, a sergeant and team leader of an Emergency Services Unit of the DEP police, was arrested Thursday at his home in Plattekill.
Investigating authorities say Marinelli assembled dozens of handguns and assault rifles. Moreover, they say he sold them to “individuals who are legally barred from possessing such weapons” including members of outlaw motorcycle clubs. Many of the guns Marinelli sold had no serial numbers and would be difficult to trace. Furthermore, Marinelli sometimes delivered the firearms using his marked DEP police car, prosecutors said.
The Times Herald-Record reports that Marinelli was arraigned Friday on charges including criminal sale of a firearm, hindering prosecution and conspiracy.
Police said they learned about Marinelli’s crimes during a cocaine- and fentanyl-trafficking investigation dubbed “Operation: Bread, White and Blues” that resulted in more than two-dozen arrests. Marinelli tipped off “one of the major people” in that case, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said Friday.
“This has to be one of the most egregious breaches of trust that I have encountered,” Hoovler said. “I am furious. Number 1, about the leak in the case; and number 2, the conduct, the possibility of putting untraceable guns on the street.”
“I am enraged that a police officer would sell exactly the types of weapons that are used to kill innocent people, including police officers,” Hoovler said. “The types of ‘ghost’ guns which were recovered in this case are valuable to criminals precisely because they are difficult to trace. A police officer who alerts an armed drug dealer who has proudly proclaimed his status as ‘outlaw’ motorcycle club member, that he is the subject of police investigation, not only compromises that investigation, but puts his fellow police officers at risk.”
State police encouraged anyone who bought firearms from Marinelli to call troopers at 845-344-5300 to surrender the weapons. Those who do so voluntarily “will not be prosecuted for their possession of a weapons, although they could be prosecuted for any crimes committed with the weapons,” the state police news release said.
Officials aren’t done yet.
“This investigation has the potential to go on for months, if not years,” Hoovler said.
It’s not clear if Marinelli has retained legal counsel, according to the report.
A spokesman for the New York City DEP said Saturday that the alleged crimes “betray the oath that this officer took to protect the public.”
Marinelli was arraigned in Deerpark Town Court and sent to Orange County Jail on $200,000 bail or $600,000 bond, waiting a March 7 court date.
Plattekill is about 75 miles north of New York City. The city DEP deploys officers to the area to protect the city’s water supply system, TIME reported.