A former New York City police officer from West Islip was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for selling drugs that caused a fatal overdose in 2019.
Judge Richard Ambro also sentenced Joseph Recca to two years of post-release supervision. The 28-year-old ex-cop pleaded guilty in February to manslaughter, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and conspiracy. He was initially suspended without pay and later resigned from the force.
“What makes his case unique and particularly troubling is the fact that he was selling drugs while also serving as a police officer,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said.
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. Sosa is due back in court on May 14 and Corbett is due back May 21.
Sini said the case illustrates the need for New York State lawmakers to pass legislation clearly defining overdoses as homicides.
“We need to send a clear message that when you sell drugs and you kill people, you are responsible for those deaths,” he said. “We are all on notice that these drugs are deadly. How many people need to die before we pass common sense legislation at the State level?”
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