The U.S. Attorney's office today announced the arrests of now retired NYPD officers who were involved in expediting NYPD gun licenses in exchange for bribes. The arrests are the culmination of a public corruption probe stemming from an investigation into high-profile donors associated with Mayor Bill de Blasio. A lawyer and a Queens businessman who sought the licenses were also charged.

The former members of the NYPD charged are Robert Espinel, Paul Dean, Richard Ochetal and David Villanueva. Dean was the second-highest ranking member of the NYPD's gun licensing division; Villanueva reported to him. Villanueva also had power to approve or reject applications for licenses, and Ochetal investigated applications, reporting to Villanueva. Espinel was an officer in the division.

It was previously revealed that de Blasio donor Shaya Lichtenstein would charge his clients $10,000 to $16,000 to get gun licenses, and he'd pass along some of the cash and other bribes to officers. Lichtenstein pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced to 32 months in prison last month.

Last year, Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant and Villanueva were arrested and charged with various counts of bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy. Lichtenstein flew Grant, along with fired NYPD Detective Michael Milici, to the Super Bowl and Grant allegedly had sex with a stripper aboard a private plane.

In today's complaints, prosecutors say that when Dean saw Lichtenstein wear a Rolex watch, "Dean repeatedly told Lichtenstein that Lichtenstein should give him [the] Rolex because of how much Dean had done for Lichtenstein. As Christmas approached, Dean again asked Lichtenstein for a Rolex. Ultimately, in consultation with Villanueva, Lichtenstein elected not to buy Dean a Rolex but to give Dean $1,000."

Dean and Espinel are also accused of using "their positions to [seek and obtain] from successful applicants free meals at a restaurant, free liquor from a liquor distributor, free beer and soda from a beverage distributor, free car repairs from car shops, and free entertainment, including trips to strip clubs."

This time around, federal prosecutors say that Queens businessman Frank Soohoo, lawyer John Chambers and former NYPD detective Gaetano Valastro were the gun license expeditors. Dean and Espinel allegedly threatened Soohoo to work with them, implying that they'd shut down Soohoo's licensing grift if he didn't.

Also, the feds say, in 2015, Dean, Espinel and Villaneuva and Ochetal all went to "two parties at Soohoo's store, at which Sooho arranged, at Dean's request, free food and alcohol, and for dancers and prostitutes to attend at Soohoo's expense."

Chambers, who represented many of Lichtenstein's clients, also allegedly worked with Villanueva on clients in Nassau County. He would text Villanueva about them:

Chambers: "We can be picky and only take those willing to pay the fare ..... but it would be nice to be able to do a handful a year together.... of course, not all are as wealthy as [other clients] .... but most are willing to pay pretty well to get things done.... if we have a 'Friend there.... YES..... that's excellent."

Villanueva: "Yes we wide [sic] have a friend. Let's see how far we can stretch him lmao."

Chambers: "i think we should do the guy with the family hair salons next... they've got like 7 or 8 with lots of cash.... really is a ground ball... he's got no arrests or DIRs [referring to domestic incident reports] etc ..... he's been waiting since last year when everything went to hell after [ an NCDP Pistol Section officer] left... he's ready to go when we are ready..."

When Villanueva complained about paying his credit card bill, Chambers allegedly texted, "You can I have that 1500 in an envelope in my office for u - so you can pay off the credit card," to which Villanueva replied "Lmao hahaha I'm so mentally tired with work I forgot all about that hahahahaha."

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, Special Agent William F. Sweeney and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill are holding a press conference this morning to discuss the arrests.