A police officer in the New York Police Department’s 40th Precinct in South Bronx has been accused of trying to kill a witness in a case against him. Stemming from a city-wide ticket fixing investigation that utilized wiretaps and other forms of surveillance, Jose Ramos was accused of committing 24 crimes, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, transporting heroin, and revealing the identity of a confidential informant. Ticket fixing is a scheme in which police officers are paid off to make other peoples’ tickets “disappear,” by either destroying any records of the ticket or going to union officials who have connections.
Ramos, knowing that he was facing serious trouble, figured the only way to remedy the situation was to kill off the main witness. In a recorded conversation with his wife, Wanda Abreu, Ramos said, “Without him there is no case. They need him.” Ramos did not want any part of the killing of the witness, so he enlisted the help of Abreu and a supposed hitman. In fact, Ramos did not want to meet or even speak to the person who would actually carry out the killing, so he had his wife do much of the communication. On May 7, she was to make a down-payment on the murder to a man at her home. Unbeknownst to her, the entire meeting was under surveillance, and the man she was to give the money to was either an undercover police officer or an informant (it is not known which). But just before the transaction took place, Abreu realized that she was being monitored and she cancelled the deal.
Despite using coded messages in their correspondence with each other, Ramos and Abreu sometimes slipped up, tipping off investigators of their plans. Now they are each facing three counts of Criminal Conspiracy and one count of Criminal Solicitation. They both maintain their innocence, but face prison sentences of up to 25 years if found guilty on the most serious charges.