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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ex-Schenectady chief's wife among 24 named in drug probe

Indictment: Lisa Kaczmarek told associate husband Greg would "mule'' drugs
The Albany Times Union by LAUREN STANFORTH and MIKE GOODWIN - May 8, 2008

SCHENECTADY -- Lisa Kaczmarek, the wife of former Schenectady Police Chief Gregory T. Kaczmarek, is among 24 people facing indictment as part of a state organized crime investigation into a major Capital Region illegal drug operation, the Attorney General's office confirmed this morning. The ex-chief faces no charges, but the indictment unsealed this morning says investigators were listening in on a tapped phone line when his wife on Feb. 18 told an associate that her husband, Greg Kaczmarek, would "mule" -- or transport -- cocaine for the associate.

And as an ex-police officer, she promised, he would "flash his badge" if the need arose. The indictment alleges that the ex-chief was also present when he and his wife met with a drug dealer on Feb. 20 "to discuss the details surrounding the police seizing cocaine and other narcotics from the drug organization earlier in the day, and how to proceed with their drug organization in view of that police seizure." The Kaczmareks have hired high-profile local attorney Kevin Luibrand, who represented several plaintiffs who successfully sued the city for police misconduct when Kaczmarek was chief. Luibrand declined comment today. Lisa Kaczmarek, 48, faces charges of felony drug sale and possession. A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation described her as a "retail" dealer who moved small amounts of cocaine for the operation.

State Police fanned out across the area this morning to apprehend those named in the indictment. Cuomo is expected to detail the Organized Crime Task Force investigation at a news conference later today. Authorities describe the operation as a highly organized group that moved cocaine from New York City and Long Island to the Capital Region and then hid the drugs -- and guns -- in local apartments. It's not the first time Lisa Kaczmarek has been in trouble with the law. Three years ago, she was arrested after allegedly being caught with marijuana when she went through a security checkpoint at City Court. That case was later adjourned and the case sealed. Kaczmarek's husband retired in 2002, six years after he was appointed to lead the city department. Gregory Kaczmarek headed the force when the U.S. Department of Justice launched a corruption probe that ended with four officers in federal prison. The City Council, civil rights leaders and others criticized Kaczmarek as an out-of-touch leader who lost control of his department. During Kaczmarek's tenure, the Justice Department's civil rights unit launched a separate investigation that faulted the department for violating the Constitutional rights of citizens. For years, Kaczmarek was dogged by rumors of drug use. When then-Mayor Albert P. Jurczynski was considering him for chief in 1996, Kaczmarek held an remarkable news conference to rebutted the rumors. "I'm not a drug user or abuser and never have been one," he said at the time.

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