N.J. cop admits extortion, stolen goods scheme

A Jersey City police officer has admitted he stole more than a half a million cigarettes and extorted $20,000 from a person he thought was a drug courier.

Mario Rodriguez pleaded guilty in federal court in Trenton Friday to transporting stolen goods and extortion conspiracy. The extortion charge carries a maximum 20-year sentence

The U.S. attorney’s office says the 39-year-old Jersey City resident was approached by a government informant last year to help him steal cigarettes and TVs from a trailer parked in Secaucus. The two allegedly sold the goods on Staten Island to an undercover officer posing as a buyer.

Later, Rodriguez and the informant allegedly met another undercover agent and planned the robbery of a female drug courier. Unbeknownst to Rodriquez, the woman also was an undercover agent.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.