A former New York cop was arrested this Monday and charged with a five-count indictment for conspiracy to distribute at least 5 kilos of cocaine as well as the “senseless murder” of 4 men. 49-year-old Nicholas Tartaglione, a former officer with the Briarcliff Manor Police Department, pleaded not guilty to the crimes on Tuesday. On that same day, FBI agents discovered the bodies of four men on a farm owned by the ex-cop.
According to US Attorney General Preet Bharara, Tartaglione conspired with others to sell cocaine between June 2015 and April of this year. Investigators believe that Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna and Hector Gutierrez were killed in and around a bar owned by Tartaglione's brother on April 11th in connection with that very same drug conspiracy. One or two of these men may have been involved in drug activity, but the rest may have been killed merely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Tartaglione's police career was plagued by allegations of brutality and scandal. In 1999, he was arrested on perjury charges, accused of lying about a drunk-driving arrest he had made. He was eventually acquitted, but was fired from the Briarcliff police force, who were later forced to re-hire him. Tartaglione was also sued by local activist and TV host Clay Tiffany, who alleged that he had been beaten on numerous occasions by Tartaglione.