In August 1969 Benny was transferred to the Narcotics squad along with 11 other tough guys who would dedicate their lives and careers to the job of cleaning up the streets of Newark. After bouncing around with different partners, Benny teamed up with Mitch McGuire as a regular partner. The two were relentless in their pursuit of criminal activity and did whatever it took to get the job done. The job called for some creative ideas, fast thinking, sharp awareness and their own personal strength to keep going. The two knew the game of “good cop – bad cop”, and were able to engage a handful of informants. With informants, you give them a deal too good to refuse and they give you information on criminal activity. I can’t tell you what those deals where so use your imagination.
It was getting close to the end of their shift on Jan. 21, 1972 when they made the rounds stopping to talk to their informants. This particular night, one informant told them there was a drug deal going down around 8PM on Elizabeth Ave. Working late was never an issue with either cop, they were addicted to the job, so they called the captain in order to set up a surveillance team at the address on Elizabeth Ave. Benny and Mitch reached the address first and scoped out the place. They knew the apartment with the drugs was on the second floor, moving around to the back of the building, the second floor was easier access because each window had a brick ledge which could be used to maneuver from one apartment window to another. Benny shimmied from one window to another until he reached the right apartment, he pulled himself up to the open window and saw in clear view a table loaded with drugs ready to be bagged up. He then walkie-talkied the surveillance team to go in through the front while he covered the back window. He kept himself pulled up to watch any activity inside. The cops rang the front door bell, the suspects opened the door not expecting the police. The drugs where in plain view and it was too late to hide them. The five suspects were arrested for possession of over $25,000 worth of heroin and narcotics paraphernalia.
A court case was to be assigned but only after a Suppression Hearing which was held by a liberal Judge and liberal Public Defender who never believed the cops and often sided with the criminals. The hearing was to see if the evidence was gained legally and the actions of the police were believable.
The smart-ass public defender did not believe that Benny was able to see the drugs from the window because he just couldn’t see how he could have held himself up in a pull-up position for any length of time. So the public defender tried to pull himself up using the judge’s bench with his legs folded. He could not budge himself one inch so he then challenged Benny to do the same. So Benny walked up to the Judge’s bench, asked how many pull-ups he wanted him to do and proceeded to do many pull-ups staring the judge in the eyes with each pull-up. The judge said “Okay, okay,” Officer Abruzzo, you can stop now as the people in the court room chuckled.
The case was eventually brought to trial and the 5 defendants where found guilty of all charges.
This was a case to be celebrated by all the officers involved, Mitch McGuire, Eddie Bimbo, Louis Martins, Joseph Costa, Alfred Pepe, Angelo D’Onofrio, Bobby Scott, Jack O’Leary and Benny Abruzzo, not just because they locked up these guys but because justice had been served.