Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini has announced the guilty plea of a former NYPD officer to Manslaughter and other charges for selling fentanyl and causing a fatal overdose in 2019
“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,” District Attorney Sini said. “This goes beyond criminality; it was irresponsible and morally corrupt.”
“Suffolk County is a leader in New York State on bringing manslaughter charges against drug dealers causing fatal overdoses; our Office obtained both the first indictment and first conviction in the State on these cases in 2016 and 2017 respectively,” District Attorney Sini said. “However, just because we have been successful on this front does not eliminate the need for a specific death-by-dealer statute. We need a law on the books that sends a clear message to drug dealers causing fatal overdoses that these are homicides.”
Joseph Recca, 28, of West Islip, pleaded guilty today 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. Recca, who had been employed as an NYPD officer since 2017, resigned from the department following his arrest in July 2020.
On Sept. 3, 2019, members of the Suffolk County Police Department responded to the scene of a fatal overdose in Copiague. An investigation into the fatal overdose, including an analysis of the victim’s cell phone, revealed evidence that Recca had sold the victim fentanyl pills. An analysis of Recca’s cell phone placed him in proximity to the victim at the time of the final sale prior to the victim’s death.
Further investigation, which was conducted in collaboration with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, revealed that Recca was engaged in a conspiracy with two other individuals to sell narcotics. The investigation involved physical and electronic surveillance as well as court-authorized eavesdropping. During the course of the investigation, Recca used official NYPD resources to run the license plate numbers of vehicles he believed were following him in furtherance of the drug trafficking operation.
“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,” District Attorney 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.”
On July 21, 2020, Recca was arrested and found in possession of approximately 100 pressed fentanyl pills marketed as Oxycodone. Members of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department, and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau also executed a search warrant at Recca’s home, which resulted in the recovery of more than $10,000 cash.
Recca is scheduled to be sentenced before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro on May 3. Pursuant to the plea agreement, he is expected to be sentenced to five years in prison with two years of post-release supervision.
The prosecutions against Recca’s two alleged co-conspirators are still 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.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jacob Kubetz and Kristin Barnes, of the Special Narcotics Bureau.