A former New York police officer is accused of tipping off her gangster boyfriend that authorities were after him in a cold-blooded murder of a rival in what authorities called a shameless abuse of public trust.
Gina Mestre, 33, who was on the force for nine years, was arrested on Tuesday night, authorities said this week. An indictment alleges she served as an accessory to murder and obstructing a grand jury investigation. She faces charges including racketeering, conspiracy to obstruct justice, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and accessory after the fact to murder in aid of racketeering, officials said.
She pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday and was released on $250,000 personal recognizance bond, the New York Times reported.
Her lawyer, Matthew Kluger, declined to comment.
In the news release, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams called her out.
“The defendant’s alleged conduct violates the oath she swore to protect the public — as well as her fellow NYPD officers — from the type of criminal activity she helped the gang commit,” he said. “This Indictment makes clear that my Office and our law enforcement partners will remain vigilant in fighting all forms of police corruption.”
NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban said there is no place for corruption in the department.
“The arrest today of a former police officer is built upon the steadfast work of our Internal Affairs Bureau, a team driven to root out such betrayals of public trust,” he said.
It all began in the summer of 2020 when NYPD’s 52nd Precinct began focusing on cutting gun violence, much of which was attributed to members of the Shooting Boys. Authorities pegged the gang to drugs, guns, and violence against rivals in the area dating to at least 2017.
Mestre was one of the cops assigned to the unit charged with that task. In June 2020, through secret social media accounts and phone numbers, she began communicating with the gang’s leader, Andrew “Caballo” Done, with whom she had an intimate relationship.
Mestre provided Done and other gang members with confidential non-public law enforcement information about the federal grand jury investigation into the Shooting Boys.
Mestre warned Done, and other gang members, that federal investigators were preparing to bring a federal indictment against the Shooting Boys. Mestre also warned Done about impending law enforcement operations, enabling Done and other gang members to conceal their criminal activity.
Mestre disclosed the identity of a witness cooperating with law enforcement and providing information about the gang, which allowed Done and other Shooting Boys to assault and intimidate the witness to prevent the witness from further cooperation.
On Nov. 5, 2020, Done shot and killed a rival gang member as he sat in his car on Cromwell Avenue in the Bronx.
NYPD detectives investigating the murder recovered security camera video capturing Done’s commission of the murder.
Several members of the 52nd Precinct were called upon to assist in identifying the person captured on the video. Mestre was one of several officers who identified Done as the perpetrator.
Mestre was a part of the manhunt to apprehend Done. Mestre sent Done a copy of the video to his phone and secretly communicated with Done on the day of the murder and in the weeks afterward.
Mestre warned Done about law enforcement’s efforts to capture him, allowing Done to flee from the United States.
In March 2022, 10 members of the Shooting Boys were charged in a 15-count racketeering and murder conspiracy indictment. Done was charged with the murder of Victim-1 and caught in the Dominican Republic several months later. Done pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and admitted to his role in the murder of Victim-1. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Mestre had four out of 10 complaints substantiated against her during her time as a cop, according to the city’s oversight panel, the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
In a post on X for Women’s History Month in 2021, the 52nd Precinct featured Mestre and a colleague “celebrating the women of today” who “mentor the officers of tomorrow.”
“With over 30 gun arrests combined we salute their bravery and dedication day in and day out in keeping the community safe,” the post said.
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