A former NYPD police officer who referred to himself as “one of the most corrupt cops” at the 105th Precinct in Queens Village will spend more than eight years behind bars for bribery and drug trafficking offenses, according to federal prosecutors.
Robert Smith, 45, of Plainview, Long Island, was sentenced Wednesday, April 20, in Brooklyn federal court by U.S. District Court Judge Rachel P. Kovner to 97 months of imprisonment for using interstate facilities to commit bribery and attempting to transport heroin with Robert Hassett and Heather Busch, two other former officers at the 105th Precinct.
Before his 2020 retirement, Smith engaged in several corrupt schemes and received bribes while assigned to the 105th Precinct, according to prosecutors. He agreed to transport illegal drugs while armed with a gun in exchange for cash payments. In recordings obtained by the government during the investigation, Smith repeatedly referred to himself in criminal terms as the “perp that got away,” and someone who, had he not been an NYPD officer, would have been “locked up so many times.”
Smith pleaded guilty to the charges last October.
“Corruption not only endangers the communities that police officers are sworn to serve, but it also corrodes the public’s trust in law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “Robert Smith and his co-defendants were corrupt officers who sold out their badges for personal gain without regard to the betrayal and the harm they caused the NYPD and their fellow officers.”
Beginning in 2016, Hassett and Smith received thousands of dollars of bribe payments in exchange for referring business to a towing company, contrary to the NYPD’s Directed Accident Response Program, for more than a year until Hassett retired. Smith resumed the corrupt scheme in March 2020, after Smith enlisted Busch to take Hassett’s place in the scheme.
Beginning in January 2020, Smith sought opportunities to transport narcotics in exchange for cash. In June of that year he met with two undercover law enforcement officers posing as narcotics traffickers to discuss his interest in participating in a scheme to traffic drugs and told them he could carry a firearm and his retired NYPD identification while he was transporting the drugs. In July 2020, Smith met with a third undercover law enforcement officer and accepted a bag containing what Smith believed to be a kilogram of heroin. Smith transported the bag to a location in Queens where he delivered it to another law enforcement officer in exchange for a payment of approximately $1,200 in cash.
“For his crimes, Smith, self-described as ‘one of the most corrupt cops in the 105,’ deservedly will spend years in prison,” Peace said. “Today’s sentence should send a message that this office, together with our law enforcement partners, will work diligently to investigate and prosecute corrupt public servants who exploit their positions of power for profit.”
Busch was sentenced in February to six months’ imprisonment, after pleading guilty in August to using interstate facilities to commit bribery. Hassett pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and is awaiting sentencing.
“We have zero tolerance for corruption of any kind within the NYPD,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “We and our law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously pursue corrupt public servants who exploit their positions for personal gain. In addition to eroding public trust in law enforcement, their disgraceful actions tarnish the reputation of the many thousands of police officers who honorably serve our communities each day.”