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Friday, September 26, 2008

Ex-Police Chief and Drug Deals

AG: Kaczmarek talked deals, cover-up with drug dealer
The Albany Times Union by LAUREN STANFORTH , SKIP DICKSTEIN and PAUL NELSON- September 25, 2008

SCHENECTADY -- Ex-Police Chief Gregory T. Kaczmarek used coded messages to discuss deals with the leader of a major drug operation -- and then when police seized a drug shipment from the operation advised the dealer to cover his tracks by getting a new hideout and cell phone number, according to the attorney general's office. Kerry Kirkem, the admitted ringleader, also directed an underling to deliver "good, chunky bags of cocaine,'' to Kaczmarek since the drugs were for "the Chief,'' according to a 12-count indictment accusing Kaczmarek and his wife of involvement in the Long Island-to-Schenectady drug ring.

The indictment, unsealed in Schenectady County court this morning, charges Kaczmarek with second-degree conspiracy, as well as drug possession and intent to sell, four months after his wife, Lisa, was charged with similar crimes in relation to the drug ring. Kaczmarek was arraigned in court this morning, along with his wife on a new indictment, which charges them both six drug-related counts. They face 8 1/2 to 25 years in prison if convicted of the conspiracy charge. Lisa Kaczmarek released on her previous $10,000 cash bail, and the ex-chief immediately posted $10,000 bail. "It is shocking to all of us that a former police chief is alleged to have been intricately involved in a narcotics ring. But no one is above the law,'' said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a statement. The investigation was helmed by the Attorney General's office and and the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team. Four months after bailing his wife out of jail on a similar charge, Kaczmarek faced arraignment in connection with the ring. The Kaczmareks arrrived hand-in-hand at the Schenectady County Courthouse for arraignment in connection with a state drug investigation that has also led to the arrest of his step son, and more than 20 other people. They said nothing as they walked into the courthouse.

Kaczmarek, who served as police chief from 1996 to 2002, has been haunted by charges that he used drugs. When Mayor Albert P. Jurczynski appointed him chief, Kaczmarek met with reporters to refute rumors that he used cocaine. The Kaczmareks have acknowledged being friends with Kerry "Slim" Kirkem, the now admitted co-leader of a Long Island-to-Schenectady drug pipeline smashed by state officials after a 13-month probe into the inner workings of the operation. Kirkem has pleaded guilty, signed a sealed cooperation agreement with investigators and awaits sentencing. His partner, Oscar Mora, is serving time for his role in the drug syndicate. Investigators say the couple met with Kirkem after drug agents secretly removed cocaine and heroin from the trunk of a car driven by Misty Gallo, a drug "mule'' for Kirkem's operation. And telephone calls secretly recorded by the state detail phone calls between Kirkem and Lisa Kaczmarek, with the ex-chief allegedly joking in the background. The New York Attorney General's office largely built its case on hours of wiretap conversations of members of the gang who either ferried, sold, or monitored stash houses where the drugs were kept. In February, Lisa Kaczmarek was allegedly captured on one of those secret recordings pleading with Kirkem to make the trip downstate to get cocaine for her husband's upcoming birthday.

Records show Lisa Kaczmarek used a cellphone registered to her husband to call Kirkem and urge him to drive to Long Island to bring back a shipment of cocaine, according to the wiretap transcripts. Gregory Kaczmarek can be heard in the background joking and joining in the conversation as his wife, in apparent desperation, urged Kirkem to make the trip. "Why we got to wait so long?" Lisa Kaczmarek asked. "Greg's got a birthday Wednesday." At that point, according to state authorities, Gregory Kaczmarek can be heard in the background saying: "That's my birthday present." Four minutes later, at 12:53 p.m., Lisa Kaczmarek dialed Kirkem's number again and State Police investigators monitoring Kirkem's calls listened in as she suggested her husband could make the drive. "Oh, no, he's not gonna see nobody else," Kirkem responded. "Yeah, well, you don't trust Greg?" she asked. "They definitely ain't gonna do that," Kirkem said, as the conversation continued. "This is Long Island we talkin' about, you talking about a white guy going into the black, you buggin'." According to the wiretap documents, Kaczmarek can be heard in the background laughing and stating: "I'll show him the badge."

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