A former officer with the New York Police Department and his wife have been arrested after police discovered a large stash of drugs and cash at their home, which is located across the street from an elementary school, police said.
Kenneth Riggio, 59, and his wife, Faith Riggio, 53, have been hit with multiple drug charges after police found 200 oxycodone pills, as well as a stash of cocaine, heroin, Xanax and over $146,000 in cash in their New Merrick, Long Island home, authorities said. Police also confiscated a cashier's check for $85,000, a switchblade, envelopes and scales.
The Riggio home was reportedly the source of a number of community complaints, as residents claim cars were constantly coming and going from the house, across the street from a Bellmore-Merrick school.
"We went through the house recovering, as you just heard, $146,000 in cash that was lined up and in certain packages, obviously money that was received from the sale of narcotics,' Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news conference on Thursday, according to the Daily Mail. "The alarming part was that it was done across the street from a daycare center, the Bellmore-Merrick administrative building and an alternative learning school where kids attended daily."
Kenneth Riggio was an officer with the New York Police Department in the 1980s before being dismissed for "unknown reasons" in 1985. Since then, he has amassed a lengthy criminal record, having been arrested for driving under the influence, narcotics possession and assault.
Faith, however, was working as a special education aide at Camp Avenue Elementary School at the time of her arrest. She has since been placed on administrative leave.
'Please know that prior to the hiring of all of our employees, a thorough background check is conducted by the district. However, due to the arrest, this employee was immediately placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the legal investigation,' North Merrick superintendent Cynthia Seniuk said in a statement.
Kenneth has reportedly been charged with 11 counts of criminal substance possession, three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.
His wife has been charged with one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She is being held on a $50,000 bail, while her husband is under $500,000 bond.
The Riggio's lawyer, Michael Degarabedian, said that Kenneth has a legal prescription for oxycodone and that the large amounts of cash were a result of a recent personal injury lawsuit settlement, Newsday reports. He added that he believes Faith will be "absolved" of the charge against her.
"The highest form of ignorance is forming an opinion without knowing both sides of the story," he said.