An embattled Rockland County correction officer who has been linked to a New York City bomb-making plot was found not guilty on an unrelated drug charge Friday.
Daniel Whittaker, 33, was found with cocaine after troopers stopped him at 1 a.m. on Route 303 in April of 2010. The arresting officer said he searched Whittaker because he tried to flee instead of stopping his car. The trooper found a bag of white powder, which later tested positive for cocaine.
Whittaker was suspended from his job as a correction officer because of the misdemeanor drug charge, but a jury found him not guilty after less than a day's deliberation in Orangetown court on Friday.
The trial was delayed since 2010 because the arresting officer, Trooper Timothy Noller, was serving a military deployment in Afghanistan.
The verdict went in Whittaker's favor, but he has more serious problems since he was linked to a Greenwich Village couple accused of possessing bomb-making materials and a "Terrorist Encyclopedia" in their apartments.
Cops also found a sawed-off shotgun in the apartment and said it belonged to Whittaker. The suspended correction officer became a "subject" of the investigation, the NYPD said, after detectives learned he was also longtime friends with Aaron Greene, who along with Morgan Gliedman was accused of possessing 7 grams of the highly explosive compound HMTD.
"When (our investigators) asked (Greene) if he had any more weapons, he said he got rid of them," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said earlier this week. "He said he'd given them to a friend in law enforcement upstate who he refused to identify further. Armed with that bit of information, our intelligence division identified Whittaker."
Investigators also found correspondence between Greene and Whittaker, including a handwritten letter that "had the word 'kill' written multiple times and a line that said 'kill them all' and the emblem, handwritten lightning bolts used by the Nazi SS."
Whittaker's attorney, Joey Jackson, told Newsday there was "no basis or truth" to police claims that his client is associated with neo Nazi and hate groups.
On Wednesday, the New York City Police Department and Rockland County police served a search warrant on Whittaker's Orangeburg condominium, seizing a large cache of weapons that included 21 shotguns, brass knuckles, two stun guns and a switchblade, according to the NYPD.
Police questioned Whittaker about the weapons cache, but released him without filing charges.
Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said Whittaker's apparent connections to Greene could be a factor in his future with the sheriff's office.
"I would be concerned with this if it was just somebody from Rockland County connected to someone like that in New York City," Falco said. "I'm concerned from a public safety aspect, whether it involved one of my officers or not."