Former Schenectady police chief Gregory Kaczmarek and his wife pleaded guilty this morning to drug charges in Schenectady County Court.
Gregory Kaczmarek pleaded guilty to a single count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance as part of an agreement under which he will serve two years in prison and one year on probation. He must also relinquish any badges he has and give up his nursing license. He will be formally sentenced Feb. 2.
Kaczmarek's wife, Lisa, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance as part of a deal under which she will serve six months in jail and five years on probation. She will also be formally sentenced Feb. 2.
Click HERE to view a timeline of Gregory Kaczmarek's rise through the ranks of the Schenectady Police Department and his subsequent fall from grace.
Both will remain free on bail until sentencing.
Thomas O'Hern, Gregory Kaczmarek's attorney, called the pleas a "family plan" and said they were offered as a package deal by prosecutors. If either deal was rejected, he explained, the other would have been withdrawn.
"As his attorney, I didn't like it," O'Hern said of Gregory Kaczmarek's deal, "but it was his choice. He [took the deal] for his wife."
Gregory Kaczmarek gave a brief statement as he entered court in which he apologized to police and said his actions should not reflect on the Schenectady Police Department.
"If my actions have made their job any more difficult, I truly and sincerely apologize," Kaczmarek said before entering court. "We are going to take responsibility for our actions."
The plea deals follow offers accepted by 21 others in the case. The deals have generally ranged from time served to just over five years.
The two leaders of the drug ring, Kerry Kirkem and Oscar Mora, received deals of 12 and 20 years in state prison, respectively. Kirkem pleaded to a top drug possession count, accused of setting up deals and shipments and keeping workers in line. Mora got 20 years, increased by a federal weapons case.
Five others who have admitted varying degrees of involvement are to appear in court this afternoon for sentencing, including Hazel Nader, who authorities said was a manager in the central operation of the ring. She is to get four years.
Gregory Kaczmarek served as Schenectady police chief from 1996 to 2002, retiring in the wake of a department drug scandal that sent four officers to prison after a federal investigation. Allegations of drug use have long dogged him, even predating his time as chief. In the days before he was appointed, he denied the rumors at a news conference.
Gregory and Lisa Kaczmarek were each indicted on counts of conspiracy and drug possession. And while neither one was an initial target, both were accused of using Kirkem as their source for drugs.