Kenneth Moreno Still Faces Heroin Possession Charges, DA Says

By DNAinfo Staff on July 7, 2011 6:00pm  | Updated on July 8, 2011 10:03pm

Kenneth Moreno (l.) leaves Manhattan Supreme Court followed by his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina (r.), May 26, 2011.
Kenneth Moreno (l.) leaves Manhattan Supreme Court followed by his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina (r.), May 26, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A former police officer acquitted of raping a drunk woman still faces drug possession charges for heroin allegedly found in his precinct locker, prosecutors confirmed.

Kenneth Moreno, 43, was indicted in 2009 on charges he had two glassine envelopes of the narcotic in his Ninth Precinct station house locker when prosecutors searched it after his arrest.

The drug counts, both misdemeanors, were not included in the trial of Moreno and his partner, Franklin Mata. They were accused of entering a woman's East Village apartment and raping her.

They were acquitted of rape in May, but found guilty of official misconduct.

But the drug charges remain open and active on the docket, prosecutors said Tuesday. 

A spokesperson for the DA's office would not say whether the office plans to pursue a drug prosecution.

Moreno's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said Tuesday that the locker where the heroin was recovered was shared by Moreno and another officer.

"It wasn't his," Tacopina said of the heroin, adding he did not know whether the drugs belonged to the other officer who shared the locker.

Along with the drugs, investigators found two red Bic lighters, three toothbrushes, a Lifestyle condom, a New Jersey drivers license, a Yankees t-shirt and other items in Moreno's locker, according to court documents.

Testimony at the ex-officers' trial revealed a red cigarette lighter was found on the accuser's bedroom floor. She testified no such lighter belonged to her or her roommate.

Moreno testified at trial that the condom was given to him as part of a prank gift by a departing colleague. Tacopina had argued it was expired, had been given to him years prior, and was clearly not intended to be used.

Moreno and Mata, 29, were convicted of official misconduct for allegedly entering the woman's apartment three unwarranted times while on duty.

Moreno was acquitted of having sex with the heavily intoxicated 27-year-old clothing company executive at her East 13th Street apartment.

Franklin Mata, 29, stands outside Manhattan Supreme Court after a jury voted to acquit him of rape charge on May 26, 2011.
Franklin Mata, 29, stands outside Manhattan Supreme Court after a jury voted to acquit him of rape charge on May 26, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

Several jurors have since said they believed the officers were guilty of rape but that a lack of DNA evidence forced an acquittal.

Tacopina and Mata's lawyer, Edward Mandery, have pushed a judge to declare a mistrial on grounds that prosecutors witheld information about interviews that members of the DA's special victims unit did with documentary filmmakers from HBO in the runup to the trial.

The officers are scheduled to reappear in court for sentencing on the official misconduct convictions on Aug. 8.

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