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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cop Stole From Undercover Cop

Sgt. Arenella stole from undercover cop posing as a drug dealer to pay informant, says prosecutor
The New York Daily News by JOHN MARZULLI - May 6, 2009 

"If they've got the blonde, we've got a problem." That was NYPD Sgt. Michael Arenella reaction when he found out the Brooklyn South Narcotics squad might be under investigation for corruption, a prosecutor said Wednesday. The 'blonde' Arenella was referring to is informant Barbara Lenahan, an addict who narcs were squeezing for information and then paying her with stolen drugs and cash, said Assistant District Attorney Charles Guria. Arenella is charged with conspiring with dirty cop Jerry Bowens when they authorities say they ripped off an undercover officer posing as a drug dealer in a sting operation. "The defendant and Jerry Bowens stole money off the undercover, it's stolen just as much as if they'd put it in their own pocket," Guria said in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Arenella, 32, a 10-year-veteran, has opted for a bench trial before Justice Gustin Reichbach.

The prosecutor said Lenahan was an "off-the-books" informant for Bowens, who promised to pay her with cocaine and cash if she helped make arrests by luring drug dealers to a meeting. In November 2007, Lenahan ratted out her handlers to the Internal Affairs Bureau and a trap was set. An undercover officer was assigned to meet Lenahan who was wearing a wristwatch recording device. The narcs arrested the undercover officer and Arenella directed the informant "to get paid" by Bowens who gave her $40 and two bags of cocaine taken from the undercover, Guria said. A month later Bowens was busted and agreed to cooperate. Arenella made the "blonde" comment during a phone call secretly taped by Bowens who was supposed to be the star witness against him until he was arrested in March for murdering his ex-girlfriend Catherine Donofrio. Defense lawyer Andrew Quinn argued the criminality is all on Bowens. "There is no evidence Michael Arenella knew Jerry Bowens was a dirty and corrupt cop," Quinn said. The Brooklyn D.A.'s office dropped hundreds of drug cases as a result of the scandal.

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