GOSHEN – Gregg Marinelli, the Plattekill man, who is a former New York City Department of Environmental Protection sergeant, pleaded guilty in Orange County Court on Monday to criminal possession of a weapon and hindering the prosecution in connection with selling a “ghost” gun with no serial numbers on it to an outlaw motorcycle member. That individual was also a lieutenant in the Middletown City Fire Department.
Marinelli, 38, also admitted to alerting the lieutenant that he was the target of a police investigation.
Marinelli admitted in court before Judge Craig Stephen Brown that he sold a pistol, which resembled a semi-automatic Glock pistol, to Paul Smith, who was then a Middletown City Fire Department lieutenant.
Smith had been a central figure in the State Police investigation dubbed “Operation Bread, White, and Blues,” which concentrated on members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine and others who were selling pills.
Marinelli admitted aiding Smith to possess the pistol by having sold it to him.
The gun was one that Marinelli had manufactured and had no serial numbers on it. That gun, and many of the weapons alleged to have been sold by Marinelli, wee “ghost” guns, meaning that he manufactured them without serial numbers, or in some cases were defaced weapons that had their serial numbers removed. “Ghost” guns are difficult to trace and are often sought by those planning to use guns illegally.
Marinelli is scheduled to appear in court again in April 2020.
Smith, meanwhile, pled guilty to operating as a major trafficker and conspiracy in connection with the conspiracy to distribute cocaine through self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs.
At the time of his plea, Smith will receive a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in court in July 2020.
District Attorney David Hoovler said he is “enraged that a police officer would sell exactly the types of that are used to kill innocent people, including police officers.”
He said those “ghost” are “valuable to criminals precisely because they are difficult to trace.” The DA also said a cop who “alerts an armed drug dealer who has proudly proclaimed his status as an ‘outlaw’ motorcycle club member, that he is the subject of a police investigation, not only compromises that investigation but puts his fellow police officers at risk.”