Two sharp-eyed Brooklyn cops yesterday thwarted a drug-and-cash heist by nine heavily armed robbers dead-set on blowing away any cops who showed up -- just as in the drug-related home invasion that killed Officer Peter Figoski, The Post has learned.
The robbery crew was targeting a heroin dealer in East New York -- the same neighborhood that Figoski spent his career protecting. A thief shot him after robbing a pot dealer Dec. 12.
"They had the heavy firepower in case the cops were called," said a law-enforcement source.
"They brought the guns because if someone heard them or found out and called 911, the cops would come and they would be prepared to shoot their way out," the source said, citing a statement by one of three thugs who were caught.
"It's similar to the Figoski case."
The fiendish plan unraveled at about 1:30 a.m. yesterday, when 83rd Precinct anti-crime police officers Steve DiMario and Andy Ramayya spotted two suspicious cars with Connecticut license plates near the intersection of Irving Avenue and Schaeffer Street in Bushwick, the source said.
After one of the cars -- an old, red Honda -- ran a red light, DiMario and Ramayya pulled it over, the source said.
When the two cops looked inside, they saw three men and several ski masks in the back seat.
"All three were wearing surgical gloves -- and none appeared to be a doctor," the source said.
When DiMario and Ramayya searched further, they found the men were armed with a "heavy" arsenal of three loaded guns -- a .44-caliber Magnum pistol, a .357-Magnum and a .40-caliber automatic pistol.
After the suspects were brought to the precinct, one of them told detectives their frightening plans.
The suspect revealed that they had been in cahoots with six other robbers -- three men in the other Connecticut car and three in another car the cops hadn't spotted -- all headed to rob a heroin dealer on Jamaica Avenue in East New York, the source said. They expected to steal $10,000 in cash and drugs.
Those six others were also heavily armed, wearing surgical gloves and carrying ski masks, the perp told detectives.
Among the six who got away was the group's ringleader, who in the past months has pulled off about a dozen robberies of drug dealers in Bushwick, Brownsville and East New York, the suspect told cops.
Charges against the three in custody -- Luis Padro-Rosario, 25, of Bushwick, Nathaniel Cintron, 28, of Connecticut, and 22-year-old Ken Garia of Springfield, Mass. -- are pending, the source said.
Republished with permission of The New York Post