‘He Hid Behind A Badge’: Former NYPD Officer Sentenced To Prison Over Drug Conspiracy, Selling Fentanyl That Caused Fatal Overdose


Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A former New York Police Department (NYPD) officer who was involved in a drug conspiracy and sold fentanyl that led to a fatal overdose was sentenced to five years in prison Monday, numerous sources reported.

Joseph Recca, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection to the fatal overdose of Ryan Bornschein, 28, who bought fentanyl pills from Recca, an officer at the time, ABC 7 reported.

Other charges against Recca include criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy, according to PIX 11. He will also serve two years of post-release supervision. (RELATED: State Police Officer Arrested Over Role In Prostitution And Gambling Ring That He Allegedly Ran Out Of His Strip Club)

The investigation was launched in September 2019, when officers responded to reports of a fatal overdose in Copiague, located in Long Island, according to PIX 11.

Jessica Bornschein, the victim’s mother, found text messages after her son’s death between him and Recca, ABC 7 reported. An investigation reportedly showed that Recca had sold the victim the fentanyl pills, and Recca’s cell photo data placed him close to the victim at the time of the final sale before his death.

In August 2019, a text exchange between Recca and the victim showed that Recca was inquiring about payment for a previous sale, and the victim said he was in the hospital recovering from an overdose, according to ABC 7.

“So when will you have the money you think,” Recca reportedly replied.

Authorities used surveillance and court-authorized eavesdropping in their investigation, which led to the discovery that Recca was using his resources as an NYPD officer to run license plate numbers of vehicles he thought were following him, according to ABC 7. Investigators also reportedly discovered that Recca was part of a conspiracy with two other men — Mike Sosa, 25, and Michael Corbett, 54 — to sell drugs.

Sosa is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon. Corbett is charged with conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Recca reportedly resigned from the NYPD after his arrest on July 21. Investigators found approximately 100 pressed fentanyl pills marketed as Oxycodone and more than $10,000 cash at Recca’s home, according to ABC 7. (RELATED: Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty To Smuggling Drugs Into Prison For Cash)

Recca was sentenced to five years in prison, although the family of the victim says that isn’t enough.

“He hid behind a badge, and at the same time was selling a weapon of mass destruction, fentanyl,” Jessica Bornschein told CBS2. “Who knows how many more died before my son, and after,” she added. 

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said the District Attorney’s Office is “aggressively” prosecuting drug dealers who cause overdoses, and called for legislation that would create a “death by dealer” statute, according to ABC 7.

“We need to send a clear message that when you sell drugs and you kill people, you are responsible for those deaths,” Sini said.

Matthew Rosenblum, Recca’s attorney, reportedly said his client was a good cop by day, but a bad cop by night, according to CBS2.

“He said to the judge, his last words were, ‘Put me where I belong, in jail,’” Rosenblum said.