Three Nassau County police officers were among 11 people arrested in four indictments alleging a local drug dealing ring and a thwarted Long Island casino robbery plot, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Officers Eric Skoglund and Karen Ernst were charged with misdemeanor charges of criminal facilitation for allegedly allowing hundreds of pounds of marijuana to be shipped to their homes from California at the request of an accused drug kingpin. And in the course of that investigation, authorities said they learned that Officer Bruce Moeller and his wife, Christina Moeller, were allegedly planning to rob her employer, Jake’s 58 casino in Islandia. Both were charged with felony counts of conspiracy.
“I can’t explain to you why a police officer who works in Nassau County who has a good job, high-paying job, an important job, someone who swears to uphold the law, enforce the law, decides to violate public trust,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini told reporters Wednesday during a news conference in Riverhead. “The message here is no one is above the law.”
Prosecutors said wiretaps were used in the joint investigation with Suffolk police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Three of the indictments involved the drug ring and the fourth involved the robbery plot. Search warrants uncovered 10 firearms, more than a dozen pounds of marijuana, 15 ounces of cocaine and various pills, according to investigators.
The alleged drug ring leader was identified as Daniel Caceres, age 29, of Port Jefferson Station, who’s accused of distributing steroids, cocaine, and Xanax in addition to marijuana on LI since 2016. After the packages of marijuana were delivered to the officers’ homes, Skoglund brought it to Caceres, or Caceres picked them up from Skoglund’s residence in Suffolk County or Ernst’s residence in Nassau County, authorities said. Post Inspectors said they intercepted two packages addressed to Eric Skoglund containing more than 10 pounds of marijuana this month.
In the alleged Jake’s 58 plot, the Moellers planned to rob a high-roller and a Rapid Armour truck that contained cash from the casino. Christina, who was a cash-cage employee until recently, used her knowledge to identify armored truck delivery times and individuals who won a lot of money, authorities said. On May 11, she texted her husband about a targeted gambler she dubbed “cupcake,” but Bruce and Caceres were seen on surveillance video unsuccessfully searching for the potential victim, according to investigators.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said that all three officers have been suspended without pay pending the results of an Internal Affairs investigation and that if found guilty, they will be terminated.
“Any accusation and arrest of this kind is considered extremely serious by the department and has been met with swift action,” Ryder said. “Although all defendants are entitled to due process, it is extremely disappointing and disheartening to the department. We hold our members to an exceptionally high standard and these individuals do not represent the professionalism and honesty exhibited by the men and woman of the Nassau County Police Department.”
-With Timothy Bolger