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New Jersey trooper who led speedy joyride gets probation

By Lisa Barron

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (Reuters) - A New Jersey state trooper who escorted a high-speed caravan of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches down the Garden State Parkway last year was sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty last month to a charge of tampering with records.

Sergeant First Class Nadir Nassry, 48, was also sentenced to 75 hours of community service on Monday by Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz in Middlesex County.

Nassry, who served 26 years with the state police, agreed on March 11 to forfeit his job and pleaded guilty to fourth-degree felony record-tampering for altering the numbers on the license plates of his cruiser with electrical tape during the incident on March 30, 2012.

He also agreed to be permanently barred from any law enforcement position or public employment in New Jersey.

Nassry and a second trooper, Joseph Ventrella, were suspended in April 2012 after witnesses reported seeing two state police cars escorting dozens of sports cars at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hours and weaving across three lanes of the highway on their way to Atlantic City, according to media reports at the time.

Ventrella, 29, a seven-year veteran of the force, entered into a plea agreement similar to that of Nassry and was ordered to apply for the Middlesex County Pre-Trial Intervention Program.

If Ventrella completes the program, the felony tampering charge would be dismissed, although he would remain ineligible for reinstatement.

Participants in the caravan were members of a New York City-based club of sports car enthusiasts and included Brandon Jacobs, a running back who formerly played for the New York Giants and a friend of Nassry's who requested the escort, the Star Ledger newspaper reported.

"The troopers involved in this unauthorized escort forfeited their law enforcement careers because they violated ... standards, putting motorists at risk and discrediting the force," Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a statement. "Beyond that, the sergeant who led the escort has today acquired a felony record that he will carry for life."

A separate third-degree charge against Nassry of tampering with public records was formally dismissed on Monday.

After the hearing, Nassry told Reuters the sentence was fair. As for the future, he said, "I will take care of my 3-year-old and try to find gainful employment."

Nassry's attorney, Charles Sciarra, said his client "apologizes for the recklessness of a one-time fiasco."

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Leslie Adler)

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