Morristown, NJ — Not one, not two, not four, but five sheriff's officers in New Jersey were arrested and pleaded guilty this month, admitting to purchasing drugs and conspiring to distribute cocaine to fellow officers. However, because they are cops, not a single one of them will see the inside of a jail cell.
Despite betraying the community's trust, breaking their oaths to the constitution, and using their positions in law enforcement to commit crimes which they are tasked with stopping, the officers are all expected to receive probation as part of their sentencing next month.
In an incredibly swift process, the officers were arrested two weeks ago and pleaded guilty last week and will be sentenced in November. Under terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors will reportedly seek probation with mandatory drug treatment for the disgraced cops. The officers also agreed to resign from their jobs and will be disqualified from future public employment.
According to Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, the intel that the officers were buying drugs and sharing themcame to police in the form of an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip.
"I am proud of my team and we are stronger today for rooting out and removing those who would bring dishonor to our organization and our county,” Gannon said before touting the crime stoppers line.
“One of the silver linings to this sad episode, frankly, is how effectively the Crime Stoppers reporting system works,” Gannon said in a statement. “It proves that nobody — even corrections and sheriffs officers — are above the law.”
According to NJ.com:
Two of the officers — Sgt. Dominick Andico, 33, and Robert Busold, 27 — admitted to purchasing cocaine from drug dealers in Morris County and selling it to the other officers.
Officer Brian Rzucidlo, 35, and Albert Wyman, 36, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine. Wyman also admitted to obstruction, a disorderly persons offense, for accessing the official arrest database.
Nicholas Ricciotti, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree possession of oxycodone, a prescription painkiller.
Morris County Prosecutor Frederic M. Knapp issued a statement patting themselves on the back for “swiftly and effectively" handling the cocaine dealing cops.
Recommended for You
“All law enforcement officers must be held to a high standard of conduct,” he said, completely ignoring the fact that regular citizens in their shoes would have most certainly been sentenced to all or part of the 5 year maximum penalty the officers originally faced — meaning these cops were held to far lower standards.
Had these men not been police officers, rest assured they would have received a far harsher sentence than just probation and rehab. Indeed, many will argue — and rightfully so — that they should face harsher sentencing due to the betrayal of their duties. While cops betraying their communities is one thing, possessing and selling cocaine to willing customers—should never end with anyone in a cage.
Criminalizing addiction and substance abuse has done nothing to curb use. 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. Why is that?
To understand the answers to that question, we have to look at how the state has essentially created and facilitated the current opioid epidemic in which America currently finds itself.
For decades, the US government has waged a war on drugs while granting the monopoly on opioid production to the pharmaceutical industry. For years, people who would've never thought of trying heroin trusted their doctors who were being paid large sums of money to prescribe them dangerous and addictive opioids. In some cases, people were given fentanyl for a broken ankle.
As the crack down on opioids came to a head, all the 'legal' drug addicts were forced into the black market to continue supporting their addictions. Soccer moms, business professionals, and police officers alike quickly found themselves buying highly dangerous fentanyl and heroin on the black market to support their government-approved pharmaceutical industry-sustained addictions.
Instead of helping these people, who clearly have physical and mental addictions and need help, the government simply kept on locking them in cages when they caught them with it — unless of course, your one of these cocaine dealing New Jersey cops.
Research — according to many law enforcement officials — shows that the cost of incarceration, especially for repeat drug offenders, is far higher than simply treating their addiction. It is also far better for a society who values freedom.
Unfortunately, tens of thousands more will likely die and many more will be kidnapped and caged before any rational and scientific approach is brought forth by the state that will actually help to curb this epidemic. Five cops running a cocaine ring should serve as a wake up call to the rest of the drug warriors who think locking people in cages is the proper way to fix this problem.