William Masso, leaving federal court in Manhattan on Monday, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.
A NYPD officer whom prosecutors called the leader of a group of officers who accepted thousands of dollars in cash in return for illegally transporting firearms into the state pleaded guilty on Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
The officer, William Masso, 48, admitted to all four conspiracy counts against him, just months after he and seven other current and former city officers were charged in a scheme to illegally traffic guns — including M-16 rifles and handguns with altered serial numbers, as well as cigarettes, slot machines and other goods — across state lines.
The Police Department said Monday that Mr. Masso, who had been suspended, was terminated “as of his plea today.”
Mr. Masso, who worked out of the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, did not comment as he left the courtroom.
His lawyer, Ronald P. Fischetti, said that Mr. Masso, the first defendant in the case to plead guilty, was “a broken man” who was “completely embarrassed and remorseful.” Charges against the other officers are pending in the case, which stemmed from a government sting operation.
“He’s accepted full responsibility for this and he wants to get on with his life,” Mr. Fischetti said of his client, who he said had worked about 18 years on the force. Mr. Masso faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 15, prosecutors said.
When the gun-trafficking case was announced in October, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said if the charges proved true, the officers’ actions “would be a disgraceful and deplorable betrayal of the public trust.” The city had “lost too many people — and too many police officers — to criminals who buy guns illegally,” he added at the time.
Mr. Bloomberg has long pushed to remove illegal guns from the city’s streets, and is the co-chairman of a national group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. On Sunday, he appeared with Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston in an advertisement during the Super Bowl advocating stricter efforts to curtail illegal gun sales.
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said Mr. Masso had been “willing to endanger others for his own personal gain.” Mr. Bharara added that with the guilty plea, the department was “one step closer to putting this sorry episode behind it.”
In the sting operation, firearms and other goods to be trafficked were provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation through a confidential informer and an undercover agent, both posing as participants in the scheme.
In court, a prosecutor, Carrie H. Cohen, told Judge John G. Koeltl that the evidence against Mr. Masso included recordings and video surveillance, as well as testimony from the agent and the informant.
Mr. Masso first met with the informer in late 2009, and the next year he indicated interest in working with him to obtain and sell various types of contraband, including cigarettes, a federal complaint said.
At one point, Mr. Masso told the undercover agent that he could recruit active and retired officers to assist in the scheme. “Whatever he wants we get,” Mr. Masso said in a conversation that was secretly recorded, the complaint said.