NYPD Officer Joseph Recca leaves court in Central Islip. Photo by Dana Chieuh

A former New York City police officer from West Islip has admitted to selling drugs that caused a fatal overdose in 2019.

Joseph Recca, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and conspiracy. He was initially suspended without pay and later resigned from the force.

“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,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy 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.”

Prosecutors said besides drug dealing, Recca also used his position as an NYPD officer to run license plate checks on surveillance vehicles placed to investigate his conduct. The investigation began after a fatal fentanyl overdose in Copiague. Suffolk police detectives looking into the case found text messages on the victim’s phone from Recca that showed evidence of illegal pills being sold, according to investigators. 

Recca was found in possession of about 100 pressed fentanyl pills marketed as Oxycodone when he was arrested and investigators found more than $10,000 cash upon executing a search warrant at Recca’s home, authorities said.

Recca’s two alleged co-conspirators, 25-year-old Mike Sosa of Brentwood and 54-year-old Michael Corbett of West Islip, are awaiting trial on drug charges. They’re due back in court May 21.

Suffolk County Judge Richard Ambro is scheduled to sentence Recca on May 3, when he is expected to be sentenced to five years in prison with two years of post-release supervision in exchange for his guilty plea.

Sini said the case illustrates the need for New York State lawmakers to pass legislation clearly defining overdoses as homicides.

“Just because we have been successful on this front does not eliminate the need for a specific death-by-dealer statute,” he said. “We need a law on the books that sends a clear message to drug dealers causing fatal overdoses that these are homicides.” 

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request or comment.

Related Story: NYPD Cop Arrested in West Islip Drug Trafficking Ring

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.