JFK-heist feds nab key witness vs. cop
- Last Updated: 3:12 AM, November 28, 2012
- Posted: 1:32 AM, November 28, 2012
A crucial witness in the NYPD ticket-fixing case was allegedly part of a crew that stole $1.5 million worth of Apple iPad minis from JFK Airport and shipped them to Virginia, court records reveal.
Harry Mingo, who was busted Friday and charged with helping to transport the tablets after the heist, is the Bronx DA’s star witness against former cop José Ramos, the central figure in the police ticket-fixing debacle.
Mingo, 44, turned informant against his pal Ramos after a 2009 forgery bust.
He told authorities he gave Ramos stolen electronics in return for fixing traffic tickets, sources have said.
The Ramos probe unearthed a widespread culture of ticket-fixing at the NYPD and led to the arrest of 11 of his fellow officers.
Ramos was hit with fresh charges earlier this year for allegedly plotting to have Mingo murdered.
On Nov. 12, some 3,240 iPad minis worth nearly $1.5 million were stolen from a cargo storage facility at JFK after arriving on a flight from China.
Airport worker Renel Rene Richardson enlisted Ramos pal Ralph Ragin to pick up the tablets, which were taken to a Queens warehouse and then one on Long Island, according to an FBI complaint.
On Nov. 15, Ragin and Mingo drove the iPads in a tractor-trailer to a storage facility in Virginia, where two other men helped them unload, the feds say.
Ragin and Ramos returned to New York that night — and when they went back to Virginia the next day the padlock had been replaced with a different lock, the complaint says.
They later discovered that the two alleged accomplices in Virginia helped themselves to about 200 iPads from the storage unit.
The two sold them before they were arrested by authorities in Virginia, the complaint says.
On Nov. 17, the rest of the iPads were removed from the storage facility. The complaint does not say who took them.
On Friday, federal agents arrested Mingo and Ragin when they returned again to Virginia, allegedly to pick up the tractor-trailer. Mingo waived his Miranda rights, and admitted that Ragin told him the iPads were stolen from JFK, the feds say.
Mingo and Ragin are expected to return to New York today to face charges related to the theft and transport of the iPads.
Mingo’s lawyer, Tom Kenniff said, “The allegations are simply that my client helped Mr. Ragin store some boxes in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia.”
Ragin’s lawyer, Jay Galleshaw, declined to comment.
Additional reporting by Philip Messing