A former police officer in Westchester is accused of killing four people in a Hudson Valley bar during an ill-fated cocaine deal, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. The ex-cop, Nicholas Tartaglione, allegedly hid the bodies on his Orange County property; they were uncovered by state police and the FBI on Monday.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 21, 2016
According to a release from Bharara's office, Tartaglione, 49, was arrested on Monday and has been charged with quadruple homicide as well as conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Investigators believe that Tartaglione killed the four men—Hector Gutierrez, Martin Luna, Miguel Luna and Urbano Santiago—in the Likquid Lounge in Chester, NY sometime in April. Tartaglione had allegedly been involved in a cocaine ring starting in June 2015, and was at the bar to make a deal. It's unclear if all, or even any, of the four men were involved with that, and an indictment filed in White Plains federal court claims some of the victims "were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Investigators dug up remains on Tartaglione's 178-acre Otisville property. Neighbors told the Daily News there had been a bad smell in the area. “It really smelled of death, but then it disappeared after a couple of days,” one neighbor told the paper.
Tartaglione was a cop in Mount Vernon, Pawling, and finally Briarcliff Manor, which he joined in 1996. He retired on disability in 2008 and still receives a tax-free pension of $65,000 a year, despite having been suspended and fired in 1999 (he rejoined the force in 2003). He was also the subject of a FBI civil rights investigation for allegedly physically abusing several people, including now-deceased local television host Clay Tiffany.
His father, Nicholas Tartaglione Sr., told the News his son couldn't have committed the crime. "It’s not true — absolutely not," he said. "He’s the best kid in the world. It’s a serious thing. They just said that they found four bodies. I don’t know. I wish I did know."