FROM QUEENS TO AFGHANISTAN

New York Daily News - - NEWS - With Thomas Tracy and Rocco Paras­can­dola

that work.

“I trav­eled to some places you don't go to for va­ca­tion,” he quipped. “Part of it was work­ing with for­eign gov­ern­ments.”

In Septem­ber 2006, au­thor­i­ties in Iraq rounded up 19 peo­ple linked to a plot to bomb a sub­way train in the city.

“Let’s just say I trav­eled on that job,” he said. “At one point, I think I was up for three days work­ing that case.”

Through it all, the NYPD never saw fit to pro­mote him even though ev­ery­one else on the two mob cases got bumped up. He re­tired as a de­tec­tive third grade.

“It’s still a mys­tery why no­body pro­moted him. He was cer­tainly rec­om­mended,” Fa­gan said. “Pro­mo­tion in grade is a funny thing.”

For Spinelli’s part, he says he’s not up­set about it.

“I was kind of dis­ap­pointed. It would have been nice, but I wasn’t bit­ter,” he said. “That's some­thing be­yond my con­trol.”

He then spent 16 months in Afghanistan chas­ing opium lords with the U.S. Spe­cial Forces in a clas­si­fied role, where he found him­self un­der fire sev­eral times.

“The drug money buys the bombs, so we went af­ter any­thing that could be used against our troops,” he said.

“We seized tons of raw opium and put bomb­mak­ers out of busi­ness. We seized home­made ex­plo­sives, trig­gers, wires, all the in­gre­di­ents for mak­ing a bomb.”

Spinelli fi­nally had enough of ad­ven­ture and came home to run a small se­cu­rity busi­ness and play golf with his bud­dies. He has a reg­u­lar NYPD pen­sion that earns him about $80,000 a year.

“One time, we’re out on the course and see this guy beat­ing his bag with a club,” he said. “My buddy says, ‘We ever get like this, we're never play­ing again.’”

On July 5, Gille­spie died of a heart at­tack.

“Richie called me, and usu­ally we’re goof­ing around on the phone,” he said. “He goes ‘We lost Billy last night.’ It was just hard to com­pre­hend be­cause I saw him the week be­fore.”

Spinelli is work­ing on a book about his ex­pe­ri­ences as a trib­ute to those he worked with, in­clud­ing Fa­gan, Gille­spie and De­tec­tive Eileen Cor­ri­gan, who died of can­cer in 1999.

“It’s a unique story,” he said. “Not a lot of peo­ple have had the ex­pe­ri­ences we had. I want to get the story out.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.