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DA: Hempstead cop sold painkillers

A Hempstead Village police officer has been charged with illegally selling hundreds of painkillers and other prescription pills in a series of deals caught on hidden surveillance, Nassau County prosecutors said Wednesday.

The officer, Brian Jones, 38, was jailed yesterday afternoon on $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail for allegedly selling clonazepam, oxycodone and oxymorphone to a "confidential informant," according to prosecutors. Clonazepam is prescribed for seizures and panic attacks. The other drugs are opiate painkillers.

Jones, who lives in Mineola, allegedly sold the yellow, blue and green pills for cash on three days in May, according to court papers.

Village Police Chief Joseph Wing said Jones, who's been on the force for about 10 years, has been suspended without pay.

Jones' defense attorney, Samuel E. Rieff of Garden City, pleaded not guilty on Jones' behalf at the arraignment.

"That's his right under the Constitution, and we should respect his rights. Things happen. Things may not be what they look like, and my job is to make sure the truth comes out," Rieff said, declining to elaborate.

Rieff said his client had been out on disability because of an injury sustained breaking up a fight on the job.

Prosecutors did not reveal how they came to investigate Jones, where Jones allegedly sold the drugs or how much the buyer or buyers paid. The identity of the confidential informant, how they believe Jones spent profits or how long the officer had been under surveillance were also not revealed.

The pills were analyzed by the State Police crime lab in upstate Newburgh.

In a prepared statement, Mayor Wayne Hall said: "I am surprised and upset about the irresponsible and illegal actions of this individual, who abused his power and jeopardized the health and safety of our residents."

Reacting to the mayor, Rieff said: "He has his perspective, which is guilt until proven innocent, and I have my perspective, which is innocent until proven guilty."

More than a half dozen members of Jones' family came to First District Court in Hempstead for his arraignment.

"Daddy!" his teenage daughter wailed as he was led away to jail.

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