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A former police officer admitted to selling illegal weapons to Pagan Motorcycle Club and tipping off another man about a law enforcement investigation

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By Michael Woyton,

GOSHEN, NY — A former New York City environmental police officer admitted Monday selling illegal weapons and tipping off another man about a law enforcement investigation. Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler said Gregg Marinelli, 38, of Plattekill, a former sergeant with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection police, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree hindering prosecution, both felonies.

According to prosecutors, Marinelli sole a “ghost” gun with no serial numbers on it to an outlaw motorcycle club member who was also a lieutenant with the City of Middletown Fire Department.

Marinelli also admitted to alerting the lieutenant that he was a target of a police investigation.

At the time he pleaded guilty, Marinelli said, sometime between June 15, 2018, and September 30, 2018, he sold a pistol, which resembled a semi-automatic Glock pistol, to Paul Smith, who was then a lieutenant with the City of Middletown Fire Department.

Smith had been a central figure in a state police enforcement operation dubbed “Operation Bread, White and Blues,” which concentrated on members and associates of self-described “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine and selling pills.

Marinelli said the gun he sold to Smith, as well as other weapons he sold, was manufactured without serial numbers or, in some cases, defaced to have the serial numbers removed.

Authorities said “ghost” guns are difficult to trace and are sought after by those planning to use them illegally.

Per the plea agreement, the district attorney’s office will recommend Marinelli be sentenced to 10 years in state prison for the weapon charge and one and one-third to four years for the hindering prosecution charge.

The sentences would run concurrently to any time he receives for related charges in Ulster County.

Marinelli is next scheduled to appear in Orange County Court April 6.

On April 8, 2019, Smith pled guilty to operating as a major trafficker and second-degree conspiracy, felonies, in connection with the conspiracy to distribute cocaine through “outlaw” motorcycle clubs. Pursuant to a plea agreement which was placed on the record by Hoovler at the time of the plea, Smith will receive a sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in state prison for the conspiracy charge and concurrent time for the other crime.

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Additionally, Smith agreed to forfeit $315,000 that he made from selling cocaine pursuant to the conspiracy, as well as a 2014 Dodge Ram pick-up truck, a 2008 Corvette automobile and a 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle that he used to transport narcotics. Smith is next scheduled to be in court on July 10.

Marinelli was a sergeant with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police, and a team leader with an Emergency Service Unit located outside of New York City, when he was arrested on Feb 28. He was accused of manufacturing dozens of handguns and assault rifles, including at least one fully automatic assault rifle, and selling them to individuals who are legally barred from possessing such weapons. Prosecutors said that Marinelli assembled the guns in his Plattekill home and sold them to others, including members of outlaw motorcycle groups and those with criminal convictions, sometimes delivering the illegal weapon using his marked police car.

Members of the New York State Police, aided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms, executed a search warrant at Marinelli’s home in Plattekill and recovered gun parts, tools used to manufacture weapons and numerous firearms.

Hoovler said he was enraged that a police officer would sell exactly the types of weapons that are used to kill innocent people, including police officers.

“The types of ‘ghost’ guns which were recovered in this case are valuable to criminals precisely because they are difficult to trace. A police officer who alerts an armed drug dealer who has proudly proclaimed his status as ‘outlaw’ motorcycle club member, that he is the subject of police investigation, not only compromises that investigation, but puts his fellow police officers at risk,” he said.

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