A retired New York cop receiving a $65,000 annual pension was arrested Monday for killing four men in a cocaine deal gone wrong.
Nicholas Taraglione, 49, who retired in 2008 from the Briarcliff Manor Police Department after a scandal-laden career, is accused of killing the men in a bar owned by his brother, then driving the bodies to his home 30 minutes away and burying them in his backyard.
Neighbors became suspicious when they started smelling a strong stench coming from his home a few months back.
They became even more suspicious when the former cop and his girlfriend suddenly moved out of the home in Otisville, less than two hours north of New York City.
And then it all dawned on them when they saw federal agents digging up Taraglione’s backyard with backhoes this week.
“I go to my chicken coop, and I see the backhoe digging, and it scares me because now I know what they’re digging for,” Kerri-Ann Lynch, 45, told the New York Daily News.
Four bodies were discovered on his property, believed to belong to Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna and Hector Gutierrez, who were last seen in April, which is when the murders are believed to have taken place over the sale of five kilos of cocaine.
Now Taraglione is charged with four counts of murder in addition to conspiracy to sell cocaine, according to the indictment, which you can read here.
And that will likely affect his chances of being rehired at the Mount Vernon Police Department where he had applied earlier this year.
Tartaglione was a cop in Mount Vernon and Pawling before joining the Briarcliff Manor department in 1996. He receives an annual tax-free pension of $65,000 after retiring on disability in 2008 — but he was planning to give up the pension after applying this year for a job with the Mount Vernon Police Department.
He had a checkered career in Briarcliff Manor. He was suspended in 1999 following his arrest on perjury charges after Westchester prosecutors accused him of lying at a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing regarding a drunk-driving arrest he had made. Tartaglione was acquitted at trial but the village fired him on departmental charges.
Tartaglione successfully sued to get his job back in 2003 with $320,000 in back pay. He claimed that authorities concocted the perjury allegation as a way to remove him from the force, but his wrongful arrest lawsuit against the village and District Attorney’s Office was dismissed.
He also had a longstanding feud with Clay Tiffany, a cable television host and gadfly who accused Tartaglione of beating and harassing him on numerous occasions. Tiffany, who died last year, settled a federal lawsuit against the village and Tartaglione, receiving more than $1.1 million.
But despite his scandal-plagued career, he was referred to as “one of the good guys in our world” in a 2006 article because he happens to have a soft spot for dogs.
Nick Tartaglione, is one of the good guys in our world.
Tartaglione is a policeman in Briarcliff Manor, New York. When he read in his local paper about a 70-year-old woman who could not afford a cart for her disabled 15 year old dog, Chopper, he telephoned the company and put the charge for the $395 cart on his own credit card.
He and his family have always been involved in animal rescue. His mother runs an animal rescue group.
But now it is evident that he was more like one of the Goodfellas of the world.