An ex-NYPD officer from Hauppauge pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping a multinational drug cartel smuggle large quantities of cocaine into the United States, federal prosecutors said.

Amaury Abreu, 37, entered his plea in Brooklyn federal court to one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.

“Rather than protect and serve, Officer Abreu helped drug traffickers distribute large amounts of cocaine in the Eastern District of New York by giving them confidential law enforcement information. That was a disgraceful breach of public trust,” said Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York in a statement. “Today’s plea should send the message that police officers who betray the shield and violate the law will be held to account. No one is above the law.”

John LoTurco, Abreu's Garden City-based defense attorney, said his client accepted responsibility for his crimes.

"Mr. Abreu, first and foremost, is a devoted family man and felt accepting a plea best served his family’s interests," LoTurco said. "It is our hope that Judge [William] Kuntz at sentencing will consider Mr. Abreu’s dedication to his family, his three-year unblemished record on pretrial supervision, his acceptance of responsibility and his minimal role in the charged conspiracy."

Abreu had been an officer for nine years before his 2020 arrest, the department said.

Court filings indicate that the drug ring imported multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through a variety of methods, including by sending couriers on flights to the United States, concealing narcotics in the mail, in tractor trucks that entered the country from Mexico, and in imported produce shipments.

Since 2016, law enforcement agents have seized more than 350 kilograms of cocaine belonging to the ring. A kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds.

Between January 2016 and October 2020, Abreu helped the drug ring, which had distributors in the metropolitan area and the Dominican Republic, escape detection by providing them with information about law enforcement procedures, performing warrant checks on members of the cartel by using the NYPD arrest database and advising them of upcoming raids, prosecutors said.

In January 2016, Abreu told the cartel's leadership that "today, I’m going to find out the thing I couldn’t yesterday because there were too many people at the office," prosecutors said.

Two months later, Abreu received a message from one of the ring's leaders with a request to check if the group's members had any outstanding warrants, officials said.

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