A former two-time NYPD “Cop of the Year” was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Florida Friday for providing security to a cocaine trafficker during a federal sting.
Phillip LeRoy, of Queens, pleaded guilty in March to a drug trafficking conspiracy charge and resigned from the department.
LeRoy, 28, was arrested in December after he and friend Brian Espinal drove from New York to Sunrise, Fla., to buy 22 pounds of cocaine.
The pair planned on picking up the drugs and heading back to New York. LeRoy was supposed to flash his badge if they were pulled over on their way home, the Sun Sentinel reported. He also carried his off-duty gun just in case.
But the dealers they were meeting for the $200,000 deal turned out to be U.S. Drug Enforcement Agents and Sunrise police.
Secret video captured LeRoy, a 7-year police veteran, taking an active role in the drug deal.
He was suspended from the department soon after his arrest, and a detective and sergeant from Internal Affairs traveled to Florida to speak with him. Authorities seized his locker and searched his laptop and home, police sources said.
“Mr. LeRoy confessed, expressed his remorse, accepted responsibility for his conduct, and did everything he could to make amends through his cooperation with the United States,” defense attorney Paul Petruzzi wrote in court records.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys plan to ask for a reduced sentence because LeRoy has been cooperative.
Espinal, 27, pleaded guilty to related charges and is serving nearly six years in federal prison. The man who set up the sting, Richard Quintanilla, is serving four years and nine months.
Leroy became friends with Espinal through a mutual friend a while ago and found things to bond over, Petruzzi said, according to the Sun Sentinel.
“Friendship and the type of lifestyle that his newfound friend was able to provide and taking advantage of all the good things that South Florida has to offer — beaches, babes and bars,” Petruzzi said when LeRoy pleaded guilty.
In letters to District Judge William Dimitrouleas, friends and family said LeRoy is a good father to his 10-year-old son and has helped raise his girlfriend’s two sons.
LeRoy followed in his father’s footsteps to become an officer and “excelled” at his job, his father said. LeRoy graduated from the police academy in 2006 and from training in 2008. He won multiple awards before his arrest, twice for “Cop of the Year” at his precinct among other titles.
“Phillip has suffered a great loss, he has had the one thing he has always wanted taken away. He is no longer an NYPD officer and can never be again because of this incident,” his father, Ernest LeRoy, wrote.
This story written by Rachelle Blidner for New York Daily News, with Thomas Tracy and News Wire Services