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Suffolk DA: Ex-NYPD officer pleads guilty to manslaughter in overdose

A former NYPD officer pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges for selling fentanyl that caused a fatal overdose in 2019, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said in a news release Friday.

Joseph Recca, 28, of West Islip, pleaded guilty Friday to manslaughter in the second degree, a Class C felony; criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; and conspiracy in the second degree, a Class B felony.

Through a plea agreement, he is expected to be sentenced to five years in prison with two years of post-release supervision when he returns to court May 3 before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro.

"For a police officer to be selling fentanyl — a drug we are acutely aware can be fatal — he is not just breaking the law he is sworn to uphold, but knowingly gambling with people’s lives," Sini said. "This goes beyond criminality; it was irresponsible and morally corrupt."

Recca resigned from the NYPD following his arrest in July 2020. He had been employed by the department since 2017.

A police investigation into a fatal overdose in Copiague on Sept. 3, 2019, including an analysis of the victim’s cellphone, revealed evidence that Recca had sold the victim fentanyl pills. An analysis of Recca’s cellphone placed him in proximity to the victim at the time of the final sale before the victim’s death, the release said.

Further investigation in collaboration with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, revealed that Recca was engaged in a conspiracy with two other men to sell narcotics. The investigation involved physical and electronic surveillance as well as court-authorized eavesdropping. During the investigation, Recca used NYPD resources to run the license plate numbers of vehicles he believed were following him in furtherance of the drug trafficking operation, according to the release.

On July 21, 2020, Recca was arrested and found in possession of approximately 100 pressed fentanyl pills marketed as Oxycodone, the release said. Armed with a search warrant, members of the district attorney’s office, Suffolk County Police Department, and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau searched Recca’s home and recovered more than $10,000 in cash.

"This was an incredibly in-depth investigation that first utilized a wiretap to prove Recca’s involvement in dealing drugs, but we didn’t stop there," Sini said. "We were able to piece together evidence and connect the dots to prove beyond a doubt that Recca had dealt that fatal blow to the victim."

Prosecutions against Recca’s two alleged co-conspirators are pending. Mike Sosa, 25, of Brentwood, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, an A-1 felony; criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a B felony; and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a C violent felony. He is due back in court on March 23.

Michael Corbett, 54, of West Islip, is charged with conspiracy in the second degree, a B felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a B felony. He is due back in court on May 21.

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