John Analetto is a married father of two and a state trooper who patrolled Brighton, but federal prosecutors say he was also a loan shark so bent on shaking down a fellow bookie that he threatened to rape and kill.
“Will I kill you? Yeah, I’ll . . . kill you,’’ Analetto allegedly told the bookie, who secretly recorded him during a three-week FBI investigation. “After five years and three months, when I retire, I’m coming for you for my money, if you’re still alive.’’
There was none of that swagger in US District Court in Boston yesterday, where Analetto, 48, a Belmont man, stood before a magistrate judge who told him he was charged with extortion.
Bald and bespectacled, dressed in a blue, button-down shirt and black slacks, Analetto looked stunned as Judge Marianne Bowler asked him about his education, his family, and his job. When she asked Analetto who his employer was, he paused for several seconds and tried to compose himself.
“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts,’’ he finally said in a soft, hoarse voice. “State trooper, 19 1/2 years.’’
Analetto was suspended without pay yesterday, according to State Police officials, who took his badge, two department-issued guns, and cruiser, after he was arrested Saturday afternoon in front of a Belmont gas station.
He is the sixth trooper arrested since April. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
“Analetto’s actions as alleged in the federal complaint are beneath contempt,’’ State Police Colonel Marian McGovern said in a statement. “They are, as alleged, the actions of a criminal and street thug.
“As suggested by the evidence, Analetto’s behavior exemplifies street-level organized crime, not the values, ideals, and character of a Massachusetts state trooper,’’ she said. “I am disgusted by those actions, but, more importantly, the 2,000 or so state troopers who serve with integrity and honesty are disgusted by them.’’
Analetto did not enter a plea because the case was continued to Friday afternoon.
“All I can say at this particular time is that the situation is not as it appears,’’ said Daniel O’Malley, one of Analetto’s lawyers. “He’s upset. He’s troubled, as anyone would be under circumstances like these.’’
The FBI began investigating Analetto Dec. 19, when an unidentified confidential witness long involved in illegal interstate gambling met with Special Agent Michael J. Carazza, according to Carazza’s eight-page affidavit.
The witness, whose gender was also withheld, was introduced through a mutual friend to Analetto about a year ago, and the trooper became a bettor soon after, according to the affidavit.
When Analetto learned of the bookie’s debts to loansharks, he allegedly loaned the bookie $24,000. In exchange, the bookie would pay him $500 a week and a cut of the gambling profits.
“Analetto demanded a percentage of CW’s gambling business profits for the duration of CW’s life,’’ the affidavit said.
Analetto also brought in five more bettors, according to the affidavit. Asked if any of them could be troopers, State Police spokesman David Procopio said officials still do not know.
“I wouldn’t speculate to jeopardize what is an ongoing investigation,’’ he said. “It is a question that we want to know the answer to.’’
Special Agent Gregory Comcowich, an FBI spokesman, declined to comment on the five bettors. “The FBI continues to conduct a logical follow-up investigation,’’ he said.
By Dec. 23, the FBI was watching meetings between Analetto and the bookie, who had been wired with audio- and video-recording devices. Agents also gave the bookie $3,600 to pay Analetto.
During one conversation, the FBI said, Analetto threatened to break into the home of a bettor who owed the bookie money, harm that person, and sexually assault the individual’s mother, according to the affidavit, which did not identify the bettor.
The recordings depicted Analetto as a man who seemed to relish acting like a criminal and was not worried about being caught. “The FBI is worried about organized crime?’’ he allegedly said. “No, they’re worried about terrorist activities.’’
On Dec. 30, Analetto allegedly head butted and slapped the bookie during a meeting in Belmont and demanded the number of a bettor identified as Chris.
During a call to Chris, the FBI said, Analetto left a message demanding money.
“Or 2012 isn’t going to be too good for you,’’ he is alleged to have said. “Capisce? Bye.’’
State Police became involved in the investigation last week and began helping with surveillance, Procopio said.
On New Year’s Eve, two dozen agents in SWAT uniforms descended on Trapelo Road in Belmont and surrounded Analetto’s car, their guns drawn, said Jason Nill, 34, who witnessed the arrest from his third-floor apartment. In less than a minute, Analetto was pinned to the ground, handcuffed, then driven away by troopers, Nill said.
“They took care of business and moved on,’’ he said.
Analetto was booked at the State Police barracks in South Boston, where a major told him he was relieved of duty.
In court yesterday, Analetto was subdued, even polite, thanking the US marshals who removed his handcuffs before the hearing. His wife, who was joined by two relatives and a family friend, left without speaking to reporters. Analetto’s children, a 15-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son, were not present.
It was not the first time Analetto was charged with a crime or was connected to a bookie.
In 1998, six years after he became a trooper, Analetto was arrested for assault and battery, a charge that was eventually dismissed. The department investigated that charge, and he was exonerated, Procopio said.
Analetto has one open case against him, Procopio said. He is accused of making an inappropriate comment to a female motorist. Procopio said he could not discuss any other details of his disciplinary record.
In 1997, Analetto and another trooper were sued in federal court by Frank Iacaboni, a bookie who pleaded guilty to gambling charges in 1983. Iacaboni accused Analetto of using excessive force during a routine traffic stop in April, 1996.
The judge ruled against Iacaboni, now in prison on racketeering charges.
Analetto’s lawyer at the time, Brian Rogal, said that Analetto had never met Iacaboni before that April day.
“I don’t have any reason to believe that John was ever involved in anything criminal,’’ Rogal said. “It’s as much a surprise to me as to anybody.’’