Trial of ‘Gangsta’ cop ends in conviction
New York cop Merlin Alston, 34, helped drug kingpin Gabriel Reyes, his former buddy from high school, move cocaine from 2010 to 2014
Accused of being a ‘mole’ for drug dealers in the New York area
Charged with narcotic conspiracy, a helper, driver and shotgun-toting bodyguard for a drug-dealer, over a four-year period
Federal prosecutors say Alston who is also married to a cop, aided Reyes for swag such as clubbing expenses and loaned jewelry
Allegedly behind gang-land style execution and intimidation of key witnesses, using insider knowledge of prosecution’s case
His bail was revoked shortly before his trial, after cops found a key witness , Robert Bishun, strangled in the rear of his BMW. The home of another witness was shot up
Alston is currently suspended from the police department, pending termination by NYPD
Merlin Alston faces up to life in prison for drug conspiracy and gun charges, sentencing scheduled for February 2, next year
Disgraced cop Merlin Alston, waiting to be arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court
Alston also was charged with tipping off other dealers about police movements and ongoing investigations, prosecutors said.
Throughout the trial, Alston’s attorney, Jeffery Greco, contended that prosecution witnesses were self-serving snitches intent on saving their own skin. Attacking the prosecution’s case of quid-pro-quo on the basis of the insignificant amount of payouts to Alston, he closed by telling the court that his would have to be “the dumbest person in the world” to have helped Reyes for free.
Greco said it didn’t make sense that Alston aided Reyes move kilos of coke for only $600 in swag, extended in such forms such as clubbing expenses and loaned jewelry, over a four-year period.
He summed it up: “Even a pizza delivery driver gets paid for delivering a pizza”.
“Here, he’s delivering drugs that can get him in prison for life, and he doesn’t get a penny?”
“Unless Merlin Alston is the dumbest person in the world, you’re expected to believe he was being compensated by $7.50 beers and $10 vodka cranberries?” Greco said.
‘Cooperating [prosecution] witness’ Robert Bishun was forced into the trunk of his own car and abducted from his auto body shop. His was found strangled, in the back of the abandoned BMW
After the jury decision was read Greco said: “We respect the verdict, but we’re clearly disappointed,” “We’ll have to make a decision whether to appeal”.
Referring to his client, “He’s probably in shock right now. I don’t know if it’s set in. It’s pretty quick”, Greco said.
The case which saw then, 32-year-old police officer Merlin Alston, was arrested on conspiracy and official misconduct charges at his posting at his Precinct in the first week of December in 2014, had seen twists and high drama including witness intimidation and slayings.
Last September, a cooperating witness set to testify against Alston was abducted from his business and executed, gangland-style in the Bronx, forcing Federal Judge Colleen McMahon to revoke Alston’s bail even before his trial began. Bail was revoked just hours after the victim, Robert Bishun, 36, was taken from his auto body shop and found strangled in the back of his BMW.
Judge McMahon was quoted as saying: “I’ve been around the racetrack once or twice. It certainly sounds like a contract killing,” adding that Bishun’s slaying smacked of “movie violence.”
Federal prosecutors claimed to have recovered text messages that prove Bishun’s role in Alston trial was being monitored. Before revoking bail for Officer Alston who is also married to a cop, judge McMahon also heard of the case of another cooperating witness in the Alston case who had his house shot up. The judge ordered Alston be remanded to custody.
Alston in white, is brought to his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court last year, December
Gabriel Reyes who was busted on drug dealing and weapons possession charges himself, cooperating with authorities, gave up his old buddy. He testified that his high school friend, Alston, regularly came along on drug runs, often bringing his NYPD service weapon.
“He told me he had my back. Just in case of anything, Merlin would do what he had to do. That was the understanding. He would protect me.”
Merlin Alston who was charged with narcotic conspiracy for being a helper, driver and shotgun carrying bodyguard for a drug dealer over a four-year period, faces up to life in prison for drug conspiracy and gun charges, after his conviction.
He is currently suspended from the police department, pending termination by the commissioner.
Sentencing is scheduled for February 2, 2017.