New York, NY — In case you’ve been completely in the dark for the last decade, you’ve likely noticed that the United States is currently in the midst of an opioid crisis. This crisis knows no demographic, no race, no gender, no age limit, and no occupation—it hits them all. Due to the government-imposed lockdowns, 2020 marked the deadliest year in history for fatal drug overdoses.
Because the state enforces a drug war which outlaws far safer alternatives, fentanyl has grabbed a large portion of the illegal drug market and these synthetic opioids that are extremely dangerous are flooding the streets. This is leading to deadly overdoses and tempting those in law enforcement to cash in on the thriving black market.
NYPD police officer Joseph Recca, 28, was one of these cops who used his badge to profit from the flourishing fentanyl market brought on by the war on drugs. He was sentenced to 5 years this month after selling the deadly drug which led to a fatal overdose. He and two others were part of a drug ring conspiracy that sold fentanyl disguised as oxycontin to unwitting customers who thought they were buying a prescription pill.
“The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is aggressively investigating and prosecuting drug dealers, particularly those who are causing overdoses, and Joseph Recca is the latest example,” District Attorney Sini said. “Today, my Office and the Court held him responsible for the death he caused. What makes his case unique and particularly troubling is the fact that he was selling drugs while also serving as a police officer. We will not tolerate drug dealers peddling poison in our communities, and our message today is that no one is above the law.”
Recca pleaded guilty on Feb. 26 to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C Felony; Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony. He was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison with two years of post-release supervision.
His five year prison sentence is not enough, according to the victim’s family. The victim’s mother, Jessica Bornschein broke down in court after the sentencing and said his badge let him escape with such a light sentence.
“He hid behind a badge, and at the same time was selling a weapon of mass destruction, fentanyl,” Jessica Bornschein said.
“My brother was the best, he was my best friend. With your loved ones, take the time to appreciate them,” Christopher Bornschein said.
“Who knows how many more died before my son, and after,” Jessica Bornschein said.
According to Suffolk County officials:
On Sept. 3, 2019, members of the Suffolk County Police Department responded to the scene of a fatal overdose in Copiague. An investigation into the fatal overdose, including an analysis of the victim’s cell phone, revealed evidence that Recca had sold the victim fentanyl pills. An analysis of Recca’s cell phone placed him in proximity to the victim at the time of the final sale prior to the victim’s death.
Further investigation, which was conducted in collaboration with the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, revealed that Recca was engaged in a conspiracy with two other individuals to sell narcotics. The investigation involved physical and electronic surveillance as well as court-authorized eavesdropping. During the course of the investigation, Recca used official NYPD resources to run the license plate numbers of vehicles he believed were following him in furtherance of the drug trafficking operation.
On July 21, 2020, Recca was arrested and found in possession of approximately 100 pressed fentanyl pills marketed as Oxycodone. Members of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department, and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau also executed a search warrant at Recca’s home, which resulted in the recovery of more than $10,000 cash.
“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,” District Attorney 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.”
This incident shows how the war on drugs is a complete failure as the ones enforcing it can’t even prevent themselves from partaking in the trade of these arbitrary substances deemed illegal by the state.
Criminalizing addiction and substance abuse has done nothing to curb the problem and as this case illustrates, it is only making it worse. People are literally dying in the streets at an increasing rate and no amount of police state can stop it. In fact, since the inception of the drug war, drug addiction and overdoses have gotten worse.
As this incident, and others like it illustrate, when authorities who enforce the drug war, engage in the very practice they ostensibly fight, it is time we try something else.
Clearly, kidnapping and caging people for substances is making the problem worse. It is time to fix it.