FBI agents arrested 43 year old Edwin Vargas shortly after he left his apartment on Tuesday morning. He was expected to be arraigned later today in federal court in Lower Manhattan.
Official sources said Vargas conducted unauthorized searches in the National Crime Information Center database, as well as hiring as private hacking company to find even more information.
He is suspected of using the searches to spy on as many as 20 people. One of them is believed to be a woman with whom he had a relationship.
According to sources, Det. Vargas attempted to obtain the email accounts of at least 30 people. 21 of them are current or former NYPD employees and 19 are current NYPD officers. Many of them may be assigned to the 44 Precinct, his former precinct in the Bronx.
Sources said the alleged hacking may have stemmed from an ongoing dispute with an ex-girlfriend, who is also an officer.
Vargas got into one person's cell phone account and obtained personal information, sources said.
Vargas is a veteran detective assigned to the 40 Precinct in the Bronx. He started his NYPD career in 1993.