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Drug distribution ring in Brooklyn busted by New York Attorney General

16 charged in multi-state 'oxy' and 'coke' operation

July 15, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Sixteen people were charged on Wednesday with trafficking prescription opioids and cocaine in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. 

As alleged in two indictments unsealed in Kings County Supreme Court, the defendants sold tens of thousands of prescription oxycodone pills, worth approximately $500,000, and more than 500 grams of cocaine. The investigation led to the recovery of more than 2,600 oxycodone pills, 300 grams of cocaine, and thousands of dollars in illicit narcotics proceeds.

The defendants ranged in age from 24 to 72. Seven of them came from Brooklyn. They included Alex Calatozzo aka “Houdin”; Joseph Mignano aka “Migs”; Vincent Posa; Frederick Zittel; Birol Kagitciouglu; James McAvoy aka Henry; and Mia Chambers aka Mimi.

During the electronic surveillance, the defendants and their co-conspirators frequently utilized code in an attempt to disguise their illicit activities, such as referring to oxycodone pills by colors or size (“big ones,” “white shirts,” “blue shirts,” and “3-0s”) and cocaine as “the girl” or “the Pablo.” Over the course of the investigation, authorities seized approximately 2,600 oxycodone pills, 300 grams of cocaine, digital scales, a money counter, and more than $12,000 in cash, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

In the first indictment, 15 defendants are charged for their roles in three separate conspiracies in which the defendants sold and possessed oxycodone pills and cocaine throughout New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. 

In this Friday, May 21, 2021, file photo, New York Attorney General Letitia James addresses a news conference at her office, in New York. AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

As alleged in the first conspiracy, Neil Garone a/k/a “Beanz” (a New York City Department of Sanitation employee) and Calatozzo operated an oxycodone pill distribution network in and around Brooklyn and Staten Island. They sold a large quantity of the oxycodone pills to Ben Butler, who then resold them in Massachusetts. Garone and Calatozzo bought oxycodone pills from various individuals, including Rosario Caruso aka “The Italian Kid” and McAvoy.

In the second conspiracy, Mignano conspired with Posa, Zittel and Kagitcioglu to sell oxycodone pills in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Mignano sourced the oxycodone pills from suppliers such as Posa, Zittel, and Kagitcioglu for resale to Garone, Anthony Romano and Joseph Romano. 

In the third conspiracy, Garone and Calatozzo sold cocaine to Millan Ceneus, who traveled from Massachusetts to purchase the cocaine. 

In the second Indictment, Andrew Mason is charged with conspiring with Garone and Thomas Schillizzi to purchase oxycodone pills for resale in Brooklyn. 

“Dangerous drugs have long ravaged our communities and devastated the lives of many individuals throughout our state and nation,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James. “From going after the manufacturers and distributors fueling the opioid crisis, to cracking down on those who are illegally trafficking and distributing opioids and other drugs throughout our state, we are tackling this crisis from every angle to prevent death and destruction.”

The takedown was the result of a 20-month investigation led by the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) with support from the Warwick Police Department and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. The investigation — dubbed “Operation Dirty Laundry” due to the frequent reference to illegal prescription pills for sale as “shirts” — included hundreds of hours of physical and covert surveillance, court-authorized wiretapping of phones, and review of subpoena compliance including phone and Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement records.

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