Former Schenectady Police Chief Greg Kaczmarek Indicted On Felony Drug Distribution Charges
ALBANY, N.Y. (September 25, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the indictment of former Schenectady Police Chief Gregory Kaczmarek and his wife for taking part in a highly organized narcotics distribution organization that operated in the Capital District and was supplied from Long Island.
In an indictment unsealed by Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago today, a Grand Jury charged Gregory Kaczmarek, 56, and his wife Lisa Kaczmarek, 48, both of Roma Street in Schenectady, with having participated in a cocaine and marijuana drug distribution ring run by Kerry “Slim” Kirkem, 40, of VanVranken Ave. in Schenectady and Guideboard Road in Waterford.
Today’s indictment supersedes a May 2008 indictment that charged 24 defendants, including Lisa Kaczmarek, with being involved in a highly organized narcotic distribution network that brought cocaine and marijuana from Long Island to Schenectady.
The Kaczmareks were arraigned this morning in Schenectady County Court. Bail was set for Gregory Kaczmarek at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond and continued at the same amount for Lisa Kaczmarek. Gregory Kaczmarek was the Chief of Police for the City of Schenectady Police Department from 1996 to 2002.
“It is shocking to all of us that a former police chief is alleged to have been intricately involved in a narcotics ring. But no one is above the law.” said Attorney General Cuomo. “The conduct Greg Kaczmarek is charged with in this case is an insult to all members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. My office will continue to hold all public servants accountable for their actions, which is what the public expects and deserves. And we will never stop fighting the scourge of drugs, guns, and violence plaguing our neighborhoods.”
The Kaczmareks were both charged in the indictment with the same six crimes based upon their alleged participation in the cocaine and marijuana distribution ring, including:
- Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree (class B felony), which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd Degree (class B felony), both of which carry maximum penalties of nine years in prison.
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 4th Degree (class C felony), both of which carry maximum penalties of five and one-half years in prison.
- Conspiracy in the 6th Degree (Class B misdemeanor), which carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail.
According to the indictment, the Kaczmareks were in frequent contact with Kirkem, using coded messages to discuss cocaine and marijuana deals. In one instance, after police seized a cocaine shipment on its way from Long Island to Schenectady, Gregory Kaczmarek allegedly advised Kirkem to change his stash houses and get a new phone in order to cover his tracks. During another call with Kirkem, Lisa Kaczmarek volunteered Gregory as a possible “mule” to transport cocaine. She indicated that if he were stopped by law enforcement while transporting the drugs, he could “flash his badge” in order to evade police.
Lisa Kaczmarek was previously indicted by a Schenectady County Grand Jury on a single count of Conspiracy in the Second Degree for her alleged role as a freelance dealer in the drug ring. In the May 8 indictment, 23 other individuals were charged as the result of a 13-month, multi-agency investigation known as “Operation Slim Chance,” led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF). The Attorney General’s investigation seized over $160,000 in heroin and cocaine along with several firearms and drug paraphernalia. Details about the original indictment and arrests can be found online at www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/attorney-general-cuomos-upstate-guns-gangs-and-drugs-initiative-targets-schenectady. Nineteen individuals have pleaded guilty thus far, cases are pending against three and two individuals remain at large.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert M. Carney said, “No one is above the law. While it is disturbing that a former police chief has been implicated in such a far-reaching drug case, I am proud of the work our partners in law enforcement have done, and I look forward to continued collaboration to protect our community.”
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael Sharpe under the supervision of First Deputy Assistant Attorney General Peri Kadanoff and Robin Baker, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice. The Attorney General thanked the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the OCTF investigators for their continued hard work and participation in the underlying investigation.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.