Former Schenectady police chief Gregory T. Kaczmarek, who became chief amid rumors of past drug use, now finds himself implicated in a wide-ranging drug operation.
His wife, Lisa Kaczmarek, and stepson Miles Smith were among 24 persons indicted Thursday in what authorities called a highly organized drug distribution ring.
Gregory Kaczmarek himself was not charged, but he is named in the indictment as meeting with his wife and one of the alleged operators of the ring, discussing “how to proceed with their drug organization” in view of police drug seizures in February.
His wife is accused of using her husband’s name in telephone conversations with that same operator, offering her husband’s services as a drug mule.
Gregory Kaczmarek, his wife allegedly said, would be useful; as an ex-police officer, he would “flash his badge” if the need arose, according to the indictment.
Asked why Gregory Kaczmarek was named in the papers but not indicted, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said the investigation is continuing.
“No one is beyond the law, even someone associated with law enforcement or formerly associated with law enforcement,” Cuomo said at an afternoon news conference at his Capitol office in Albany. “No one is beyond the law.”
Gregory Kaczmarek served as Schenectady police chief from 1996 until he retired in 2002 in the wake of one of the department’s worst scandals when four officers were sent to federal prison for mishandling informants and drug evidence.
Gregory Kaczmarek himself has long been followed by rumors of drug use.
The week before he was named chief in 1996, he attempted to dispel the whispers by holding a news conference, flatly denying them.
Then-mayor Al Jurczynski challenged anyone with proof of such a claim to come forward. No one credible did, Jurczynski said then in making the appointment.
Lisa Kaczmarek, 48, of Roma Street, turned herself in Thursday morning after being told that she was being sought. She was charged with second-degree conspiracy and faces 81⁄3 to 25 years in prison if convicted of the felony.
Smith, 20, of Schenectady, was also arrested, accused of the same conspiracy count. He is also named as a defendant in another conspiracy count and four drug counts, alleging possession, attempted possession and sale.
Gregory and Lisa Kaczmarek hired Albany lawyer Kevin Luibrand to represent them, Luibrand confirmed Thursday afternoon. He declined to comment further, saying he had yet to read the indictment.
Luibrand and the former chief have some history: They were on opposite sides of many cases. Luibrand represented a number of plaintiffs suing the Schenectady Police.
Authorities Thursday placed Lisa Kaczmarek’s involvement in the operation as working on the street-level with Kerry Kirkem, one of two alleged operators.
Kirkem allegedly told Lisa Kaczmarek Feb. 16 in a coded telephone conversation that a new supply of cocaine “was very high quality and would boost Kaczmarek’s business.” The next day, Kirkem told Lisa Kaczmarek that a new supply was coming soon. She allegedly asked for any cocaine available then, according to the indictment.
It was on Feb. 18 that she allegedly told Kirkem that her husband could help.
And both she and her husband, the indictment reads, met with Kirkem on Feb. 20 “to discuss the details surrounding the police seizing cocaine and other narcotics from the drug organization earlier in the day, and how to proceed with their drug organization in view of that police seizure.”
Lisa Kaczmarek’s son, Smith, is accused of retrieving packages of cocaine for Kirkem and agreeing to sell cocaine to a customer.
At one point in late February, Smith and another man indicted allegedly moved a safe used to store and conceal cash, weapons and cocaine and other drugs from a “stash house” at 206 Union St. to the “stash house” at 1822 Avenue A.
Lisa Kaczmarek and her son have faced charges before. Lisa Kaczmarek was cited in 2005 after police said she went through court metal detectors with a metal tin containing a half-smoked marijuana cigarette while attending another case involving her son.
Court officers charged her then with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation. The case was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and has since been sealed.
Smith was charged in July 2007 with possessing an illegal gravity knife. He allegedly emptied his pockets at the metal detector and officers spotted the knife.
Smith was also accused in March of felony promoting prison contraband. He was accused of attempting to smuggle cigarettes and matches to an inmate by hiding them inside the soles of running shoes.
The items were discovered in a routine search of items entering the jail.