City Cops, Suburban Cocaine: The Losers Club
HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (AP) _ New York City policeman Michael Dowd owned a $350,000 house in a nice neighborhood, on an acre of land that was immaculately groomed even when he was off vacationing in the Cayman Islands.
But his base salary after 10 years on the force was $50,391.
The difference between lifestyle and livelihood was cocaine, authorities said. They say Dowd, 31, was chairman of ″The Losers’ Club,″ a band of officers accused of mingling business with illegal profit.
″It was difficult to discern if they were drug dealers wearing police uniforms or police officers who were drug dealers,″ said prosecutor Robert Ewald, chief of the Suffolk District Attorney’s Narcotics Bureau.
Dowd was arrested May 6 and freed Tuesday on $300,000 bail.
He also is under investigation in the 1990 slayings of three dealers whose bodies turned up in Suffolk County, on Long Island, a police source told The Associated Press on Wednesday. New York City police are investigating Dowd’s involvement in a fourth slaying, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Marvin Hirsch, Dowd’s attorney, said Dowd denied involvement and was not aware of any investigation.
The Losers had been in business for more than a year, authorities said, buying high-quality cocaine in Brooklyn and returning to their Long Island neighborhoods to sell it for a 100 percent profit.
″We’re going to be living on Easy Street,″ Dowd told one partner during a tape-recorded phone call.
Dowd’s reputed right-hand man was Kenneth Eurell, his former partner, now retired on disability. He and four other cops, all assigned to Brooklyn and living on Long Island, also were charged with cocaine distribution. They and Dowd have been suspended without pay. They have all pleaded innocent.
They collected tens of thousands of dollars in drug money, authorities said.
When arrested while on duty May 6, Dowd tested positive for cocaine and had an eighth of an ounce of cocaine in his uniform pocket, Ewald said. Cocaine also was found in his police locker, authorities said. Drew Biondo, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney, said Dowd was also drunk.
″This one individual (Dowd) and Eurell are really the main movers in this,″ said Chief Robert Beatty, commander of the city police Internal Affairs Division. ″The other clowns didn’t have the guts or the intelligence to pull it off.″
Investigators were tipped to the case by a call Eurell made to a police precinct from a drug dealer’s wiretapped phone, authorities said.
After an Islip drug dealer sold cocaine to an undercover cop, authorities tapped the dealer’s phone.
Within two days, officers listening to the phone heard Eurell call a cousin who is a police officer to check a license plate number - the one belonging to the undercover cop., authorities said.
″It was mind-boggling,″ said Jennifer Buetow, an assistant district attorney.
Ten phones were soon tapped, including those of Dowd, Eurell and the four other officers. The cops spoke openly, occasionally subbing ″Sheetrock″ or ″suits″ for the word ″cocaine,″ said Ewald.
″These guys thought they would never get caught. They yakked for a long time on the phone,″ said Ewald. ″They acted like it was another day on the beach.″
On May 6, Dowd and his new partner were videotaped allegedly making a drug deal - after driving their police car to a meeting with a dealer, Edwald said.
Eurell and three of the officers later paid $3,700 for 4 ounces of cocaine, said Ewald. Officers moved in the same night to make their arrests, nailing 50 people in all.