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NYPD Internal Investigation Widens, to 5 Suspects From 2

Federal prosecutors and police Internal Affairs Bureau investigators who are looking into the activities of a retired police detective and an 18-year veteran arrested two weeks ago have expanded their inquiry to include a retired lieutenant and two current detectives, according to several law enforcement officials.

The three men have been implicated by the retired detective, Thomas Rachko, who faces charges of joining with an on-duty detective, Julio C. Vasquez, to rob a drug dealer of $169,000, law enforcement officials said. Mr. Rachko, who was arrested on Nov. 26, has been cooperating with investigators.

The investigation is in its early stages, and one detective has been placed on modified duty in connection with the investigation, a law enforcement official said.

Mr. Rachko and Mr. Vasquez were recorded on videotape robbing a drug courier two weeks ago, according to criminal complaints. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the two, who were partners in the Police Department Narcotics Division, have been engaged in misconduct for as long as six or seven years.

Mr. Rachko retired last year, and Mr. Vasquez resigned last week after being charged in Federal District Court in Brooklyn with lying to a federal agent and in Queens Criminal Court with grand larceny, money laundering and coercion. Mr. Vasquez has also been charged with official misconduct.

The drug courier, who officials have said tipped off the two men in exchange for a share of the cash, was under surveillance by a task force investigating money laundering. When Detective Vasquez and Mr. Rachko arrived, wearing police raid jackets and driving a department car, they told members of the task force that they were with a narcotics unit working on a wiretap investigation, the criminal complaints say.

They handcuffed the courier, the complaints say, and drove away with him and his satchel full of money.

The task force, made up of federal and local law enforcement agents, soon discovered that there was no wiretap investigation and that Mr. Rachko was retired.

Later that day, one complaint says, Mr. Rachko called a task force member to explain that he had merely been helping a friend with an arrest. Nevertheless, the task force contacted the Internal Affairs Bureau.

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