By David Amoruso
Don’t we all miss our friendly neighborhood milkman who used to deliver bottles of milk right up to our doorsteps? What happened to the businessman who would offer that kind of service? Well, leave it to the mob to step into that void by driving an ice cream truck into your neighborhood that not only sells ice cream but also oxycodone pills at $20 dollars apiece.
Yesterday, New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, New York State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, M.D. and Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan Jr. announced the indictment of 31 members of an extensive drug trafficking ring that pumped nearly 43,000 oxycodone pills worth $1 million onto the black market in New York City over the course of one year.
The ring was led by Lucchese Crime Family soldier Joseph Zaffuto (photo right, on the right) and associate Louis Scala (photo right, on the left) who obtained fraudulent prescriptions through Nancy Wilkins, who worked as an office manager for a Manhattan orthopedic surgeon, prosecutors say. Zaffuto was a patient of the physician’s and met Wilkins during an office visit. She stole prescription pads from the office without the physician’s knowledge and sold the sheets to Scala and Zaffuto in exchange for cash payments.
According to the official press release, the two men recruited dozens of individuals to take the stolen prescriptions to pharmacies and get them filled. These recruits, nearly all Staten Island residents, were paid in either cash or oxycodone. Many of the drug runners were relatives, friends or neighbors of Scala’s and Zaffuto’s. The pair often recruited individuals who were desperate for money or already had drug abuse problems. In some cases, multiple members of a single family or multiple households on the same block were involved in filling prescriptions. A number of individuals developed a dependence on oxycodone as a direct result of their involvement with the drug distribution ring.
After getting the prescriptions filled, they brought the pills back to Scala and Zaffuto. Scala worked as an ice cream truck driver and as he made his regular rounds with his Lickety Split ice cream truck, would stop on prearranged blocks where he knew his oxycodone customers would be waiting. After serving ice cream to whatever children appeared, he would invite the adult pill customers to climb inside his truck and get their “oxy” fix.
Since the Italian American Mafia still fascinates so many people and has a lot of them in awe of their so-called code of honor and respect, this latest news should come as another wake up call. As we already had a Gambino crew which pleaded guilty to running a prostitution ring that pimped out underage girls, the myth that the movie The Godfather created should’ve already been in ruins.
“I also don't believe in drugs. For years I paid my people extra so they wouldn't do that kind of business. Somebody comes to them and says, "I have powders; if you put up three, four thousand dollar investment, we can make fifty thousand distributing." So they can't resist. I want to control it as a business, to keep it respectable. [slams his hand on the table and shouts] I don't want it near schools! I don't want it sold to children! That's an infamia.” – Don Zaluchi in The Godfather.
Yet here the Italian American Mafia is, selling drugs to friends and neighbors. Selling it from an ice cream truck after just having sold neighborhood kids some delicious ice cream. Where is the honor in that?
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