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Two New Jersey troopers lose jobs in "joyride" scandal

(Reuters) - Two New Jersey state troopers who escorted a high-speed caravan of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches down the Garden State Parkway have agreed to forfeit their jobs, the state's attorney general announced.

Sergeant First Class Nadir Nassry, 47, of Phillipsburg, on Monday pleaded guilty to fourth-degree record tampering for altering the numbers on the license plates of his cruiser with electrical tape during the incident, Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a press release.

Trooper Joseph Ventrella, 29, of Bloomingdale, entered into a plea agreement on a similar charge. He will enroll in the Middlesex County Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which once completed would result in the charge being dismissed, though he would not be eligible for reinstatement.

Both Nassry, who has served 26 years with the state police, and Ventrella, a seven-year veteran, agreed to give up their jobs.

Nassry will be sentenced on April 29 by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz in New Brunswick. Under his plea agreement, the state will recommend that a judge sentence him to a term of probation, Chiesa said.

"These troopers ... betrayed the public's trust, undermining public safety and the reputation of the force," Chiesa said in the press release. "They are justly paying a high price for their poor judgment. Both men have ended their law enforcement careers, and one will have a felony record for the rest of his life," he said.

Witnesses reported seeing two state police cars escorting dozens of sports cars exceeding 100 miles per hour on March 30, 2012, and weaving across three lanes of the Garden State Parkway on their way to Atlantic City, according to local media reports.

"Sergeant Nassry apologizes to motorists endangered on that day, his colleagues in the Division of State Police whose trust with the public is essential for performing their jobs, and Trooper Ventrella whose career was lost as a result of this one time act of stupidity," Nassry's attorney Charles Sciarra said in a statement.

Ventrella's attorney, Vincent Nuzzi, was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; editing by Prudence Crowther)

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