This undated photo shows former Briarcliff Manor, NY police officer Nick Tartaglione.
WHITE PLAINS, n.y. – A retired police officer was accused of killing four men who went missing during a drug deal this year, and the authorities have discovered the remains of four bodies on the property is linked to him.
Nicholas Tartaglione was arrested on Monday on charges of murder and conspiracy to distribute 5 kilos or more of cocaine, the Prosecutor of the V. S. Preet Bharara said.
“While all murders tear in the fabric of our society, when the alleged perpetrator of a gangland-style quadruple murder, is a former police officer, which touches the heart of the civilized world,” Bharara said.
Tartaglione, who for the Briarcliff Manor police department and lives in Otisville, pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Mark DeMarco, did not immediately return a phone message requesting comment.
The prosecutors said Tartaglione took part in the killing of Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna, and Hector Gutierrez in April in and around a bar called the Likquid Lounge in Chester, while a conspiracy to sell cocaine. She said that some of the victims were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“These four men had not been seen or heard since the day of their alleged murder,” said Bharara, who hoped the arrest brought a certain degree of comfort to the family of the victims and their loved ones.”
Chester police chief Peter Graziano said one or two of the victims were involved in some kind of drug activity.
He told the Journal News of the four bodies were found in Otisville, about 60 miles north of New York City, on Tuesday on the property rented by Tartagliano. He said that the remains were sent to the county medical examiner’s office for identification.
Tartaglione, who is 49 years old, a member of the Briarcliff Manor police department in 1996 after stints as a police officer in Mount Vernon and Pawling, The Journal News said. He retired on disability in 2008.