The FBI recently arrested two current and one retired New York Police Department officer for their alleged connections to corruption schemes involving heroin trafficking. One officer is even being accused of bragging about his crimes and for using “unabashedly racist and hate-filled language,” NBC News reported.
The three individuals, Heath Busch, Robert Hassett, and Robert Smith — who retired in March 2020 — were from the 105th Precinct in Queens. All were arrested at their respective Long Island homes on Tuesday morning, May 11.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn stated that the three were involved in various corrupt dealings. However, they singled out Smith as the ringleader. Authorities say 44-year-old Smith and 36-year-old Hassett recruited 34-year-old Busch to join their team as Smith was preparing for retirement.
In a statement, acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko said, “As alleged, the defendants shamelessly violated their oaths of office and the public trust by trading their badges for cash payment.”
The trio faces five counts of using interstate facilities to commit bribery and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act, officials said. The outlet reported that the NYPD was supposed to use a program where authorized tow operators are picked in order through a computer system. Smith and his team’s alleged scheme bypassed that policy. Smith is also being charged with attempting to transport at least a kilogram of heroin.
Prosecutors said Smith, who appeared unabashed for his role in said crimes, used racial slurs frequently. Following his retirement, he reportedly bragged, via text messages, about how much he enjoyed pulling his gun on Black people.
“Bro, I point my gun out the window now at (N-words) and watch their reaction and drive away. Hilarious,” Smith wrote, according to a government memo opposing bail for Smith. His retirement only further fueled his behavior.
The memo continued, “Smith’s unabashedly racist and hate-filled language in his communications included regular references to Black people as ‘n—–s’ and numerous references to the Ku lux Klan, including one — just after retirement — in which he wrote, ‘Now the real [S]mith will shine. I even shaved my head. Klan.”
Smith was ordered into custody until a bail hearing on Friday, May 14. Meanwhile, Busch and Hassett were released after posting $200,000 bonds. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced both current employees were suspended without pay, adding “there is no tolerance for the alleged corruption.”
Attorneys for the three declined to speak on the matter. All three defendants have pleaded not guilty to their alleged crimes.