Andrew C. Tartaglino, drug enforcement agency deputy chief, 71

November 23, 1997|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,SUN STAFF

Andrew Charles Tartaglino, retired deputy chief of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, died Friday at his home in Charlesbrooke after a 10-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 71.

In three decades of sleuthing, he helped catch hit men and drug traffickers, as well as corrupt police officers and agents.

He led a two-year investigation into corruption in the New York City Police Department in the late 1960s that resulted in the arrests of more than 40 officers. The celebrated case was the basis for the book and movie, "Prince of the City."

"Andy was very much involved in integrity investigations. They were, to him, of utmost importance," said Frank Monastero, a longtime colleague and former DEA assistant administrator for operations. "He loved his work and was one of the most innovative investigators the government has ever had."

In a 1983 interview, Mr. Tartaglino told The Evening Sun, "I like to do things others won't do. If I ever had to worry about people in my life, I would never have achieved anything."

Born and raised in Newport, R.I., Mr. Tartaglino served in the merchant marine during World War II, then graduated from Georgetown University in 1949. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Navy, serving until 1952, when he joined the Federal Bureau of Narcotics as a field agent.

One of his early cases led to the arrest in 1954 of New York gangster Elmer "Trigger" Burke, a notorious executioner.

Six years later, Mr. Tartaglino played a key role in the arrest of Mauricio Rosal, the Guatemalan ambassador to Belgium who was caught smuggling 100 pounds of heroin into New York from fTC France. The drug bust, a record at the time, earned Mr. Tartaglino an award from the French government.

L He was named acting deputy administrator of the DEA In 1973.

After he retired in 1979 from the federal government, he became chief investigator of Maryland's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit under former Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs.

Mr. Sachs yesterday praised Mr. Tartaglino's career of sleuthing as "among the best of the best. He really enjoyed the zeal of the chase."

Mr. Tartaglino left that post to be a consultant to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he helped screen candidates requiring Senate confirmation. He retired in 1990, to tend the roses at his home at Charlesbrooke in Baltimore County, where he had lived for 17 years.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5300 N. Charles St. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be private.

Mr. Tartaglino's first marriage, to the former Doris Deipser of Falls Church, Va., ended in divorce.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, the former Peggy Ollinger; two sons, Frederick Robert Tartaglino of Arlington, Va., and Stephen David Tartaglino of Vienna, Va.; a stepson, Kenneth J. Tartaglino of San Francisco; two stepdaughters, Lisa M. Tartaglino of Newtown Square, Pa., and Lynn M. Tartaglino of Goshen, N.Y.; and two granddaughters.

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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