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Two cops' guns removed in drug-money probe

December 10, 2003

Two detectives from the troubled Manhattan North narcotics unit have had their guns removed, the latest officers snagged in what appears to be a widening corruption scandal, a police official said yesterday.

Newsday reported yesterday that the two, along with a retired lieutenant, were recently implicated by retired Det. Thomas Rachko, who was arrested with his former partner last month after the two allegedly robbed a drug dealer.

The investigation by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn began last month when Rachko and Det. Julio Vasquez were videotaped allegedly stealing $169,000 from a drug courier in Astoria.

The two were wearing NYPD raid jackets, according to the criminal complaint filed against them in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The money has not been recovered.

Vasquez, an 18-year veteran, assigned at the time to the department's Firearms Investigation Unit, immediately resigned. Thus far, he is not cooperating, sources close to the investigation said.

Chief Charles Campisi, who heads the Police Department's Internal Affairs Division, declined to comment on the status of the two narcotics detectives who had their guns removed and whose identities were not disclosed.

However, a police official noted that neither had been placed on modified assignment.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, also declined comment.

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© 2003 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.