Legacy of Corruption

Written By: Ray  Viera

Disclaimer- this is a true story of events of my life. I have left out the names of persons who are involved to keep this text safe. The names, dates and specific details are kept in safe keeping for later use.

My story, a legacy of corruption

I grew up the son of Ramon Viera a 1st grade narcotics detective who worked in the SIU unit on the NYC police dept.
As a very young boy in the 1970’s I was allowed to tag along on the plain clothes investigations, it was common for my Dad to multitask all the family errands with his cases. On occasion he would fill the family car at the 44th precinct then grab info on a lead and go check with me in the car. We changed tape on reel to reel recorders, sat in front of apartments and often he met drug dealers in front of the car or by a building. More then often he met his partners who all knew me well and liked me. On wiretaps, I would run for coffee and pizza. They gambled and smoked cigars while I helped with simple duties like writing licence plates and descriptions of suspects.
As a teenager, it was routine for my dad to come home with large amounts of drugs and money usually because we lived in Westchester and the property clerk was in lower Mahattan. Often as I got more rebellious I would steal some of each. I felt it was justified the same way he did when he skimmed his share. I usually spent the money impressing girls and I started doing the drugs which became the bigger of the two problems. I became an addict and I had a large supply.
I became very good at getting information from him and his partners. I knew where the collars were and when they would do their split of the take, his share was left every time in our garage behind a carefully designed cement block which was removable only if you knew how. I watched him load it many times and I checked it daily.
I was carefully removing more drugs than money although I took thousands over time without him commenting. Very ballsy of me to be doing this act as a teenager, needless to say I turned out to be a delinquent.
My high school years were filled with non stop parties and drinking was a big part of it, my drunken binges almost caused me to get caught with very traceable evidence but there was no threat back then for some reason. I lived as carefully as possible.
Widespread corruption at all levels of the NYPD at the time had my dad and his partners hoisting millions of dollars and the life was good. Big house on the water on Long Island, cars, parties were the norm.
The move to Long Island was for a reason, the first of the indictments were handed down when special prosecuter Rudolph Guillani began a wide spread investigation of high level corruption.
During this time, my dad and his partners were working from time to time from our house and I was always listening to their discussions.
I knew as much as they did cause they trained me without them knowing it. I learned that they were tied to organized crime and that they feared being caught and worse having their money seized. The stolen cash. They did not for the most part steal drugs. They didn’t want the problems that come with reselling drugs.
The big conversation came on a Sunday afternoon right after the suicide of Joe Nunziata. All the partners came for a memorial party and word was out about a rat in SIU.
My father and his partner, staying nameless for now, came into the hallway and began a discussion which I listened to. They talked about finding a place to leave the cash until the trials end.
They talked of maybe doing time and what would they have left if their careers ended in such disaster. They decided to have my dad take his boat with the huge amount of cash to an offshore location in the Long Island sound off Mount Sinai.
Needless to say my Dad would not allow me to go boating for a while but I really did not want to take any of their take but I felt sorry for them if they did get indicted and I needed to know where it was incase of anything, so my motives at the time were pure.
I had no way to know when my dad would go out on the boat or where he was dumping the goods. Mount Sinai was 20 miles west of Wading River and he could go from anywhere to there, get underway and I would never know. There was no GPS then and no smartphones but we did have LORAN C on the 29 ft Sea Ray called “Three Quarters” named after his hope of retiring with a medical pension.
I went to the slip and set the Loran to plot, this I figured would point me to the drop spot. Weeks went by and I would go check the Loran but nothing was logged. He cleared the memory and I had no information about it. I was frustrated and time went on.
My father was indicted as was his partners and our lives unravelled.
The life the men and their families lived stopped. Nobody talked to anyone. We were in the newspapers, federal agents parked in front of our house, they followed my mother and my sister. I stopped going to the boat and my dad instructed us to do nothing but school and home.
The men were sentenced to several years for shakedowns of a small scale. While the “bad partner” turned states witness, very little of that was prosecuted. My dad went to Segoville federal prison in Texas. For 3-5 years.
During his term, my mom did the best she could and we heard noting from anyone on the force, very tough days.
My father returned home from prison and died 36 days later from a heart attack. It is believed he died of shame induced heart failure. He really was a nice man but caught up in a bad world. Very sad,
His funeral was attended by a thousand people and the NYPD was there in their glory even though he was dethroned.
My role became caretaker for my mom. But not long after my mom remarried and I was back to my rebellious ways. Without the excitement of the drugs and money, life was boring. I tried college and working simple jobs but I wanted more.
On June 7th 1981, I stumbled upon a piece of paper that changed my life forever. I was cleaning out old crates of family films in the garage and there was a leather wallet with nothing in it except a paper with 12 numbers on it. Loran coordinates.
I looked on a chart to see if these numbers were related to anything, they showed a location 14 miles off the coast of Sound Beach NY.
The boat was sold soon after my dad died so I rented a boat and I went diving. I spent two days in muddy water searching. I came up with nothing. Then I felt a big chain that went under the bottom. I tried to pull it but could not lift it.
I came back with a motorized lift and tied a rope to it. I stood on the boat and winched it up .
The aluminum box came into sight off the side of the boat at sunset.
The whole next day I spent counting hundred dollar bills. And in June 1981, I had 2.3 million dollars of corrupt cops stolen money. That summer my fathers partners came out to visit for reasons of checking on my mom. They were looking for leads about the money, a detective who was close to my dad spent a day fishing with me and kept asking if my dad said anything before he died, even
His son flew in to visit me that summer.
I tried to distance myself from that old life.
I was careful to not act different but I was a novice and I couldn’t work a low paying job while that money was sitting and waiting.
I was in the US Coast Guard during this period and I was reduced in rank for AWOL and drunken behavior. I was sent from my duty station at Shinnecock to Governers Island for observation of mental problems. I was not mental but disinterested.
I had lost all respect for authority and now I was in NYC just a short ferry ride to Manhattan. I went to Watermill and opened a automotive shop called Autotrix.
Every night was a drug haze and coming back to sleep in a rack was tough. They discharged me with a honorable discharge.
I really had not touched the money but I was ready.
What transpires next is a story that would take a thousand pages but it is a story that needs to be told…..
I can say that the remainder of my life was on the run, I lived in 50 different towns, had over a hundred different jobs. I slept about one hour each night and I suspected everyone that I met to be from the NYPD or worse.
I’m 57 now and it is time to tell the story to the world.