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Three Sentenced to Federal Prison in Marijuana Growing and Distribution Conspiracy

BOSTON, MA – Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that three individuals involved in a marijuana growing and distribution conspiracy were sentenced today by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford.

  • Joseph Cassetti, 61, of Ansonia, was sentenced to 37 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Cassetti also was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $50,000, and has previously agreed to forfeit $100,000 to the government.
  • Sterling Mazza, 25, of Oxford, was sentenced to 37 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.
  • James Canavan, 27, of Ansonia, was sentenced to 46 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between March 2008 and January 2010, Cheyne Mazza of Oxford led a conspiracy that included Cassetti, Sterling Mazza and Canavan, to manufacture and distribute large quantities of marijuana. Much of the marijuana was grown at properties owned by Cassetti located at 72 Root Avenue and 63 Root Avenue in Ansonia, as well as at 21 Pawnee Road in Oxford, a Cassetti family property that had been rented to Cheyne Mazza. Cassetti lived at 72 Root Avenue, and Canavan and Sterling Mazza, who is Cheyne Mazza’s sister, were CassettI’s tenants at 63 Root Avenue. Cheyne Mazza arranged for the installation of electrical service to operate lighting needed to cultivate marijuana at the locations, and provided the marijuana plants and other equipment. Cheyne Mazza then distributed the marijuana to a network of street-level dealers.

In November 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police executed state search and seizure warrants at the Ansonia and Oxford properties and seized more than 1400 marijuana plants and equipment used to grow and process marijuana. One marijuana plant can yield approximately one pound of marijuana.

Cheyne Mazza, Cassetti, Sterling Mazza, and Canavan each previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 1000 or more marijuana plants.

Cheyne Mazza has been detained since his arrest in Derby on December 1, 2009, when law enforcement found him in possession of more than two pounds of marijuana.

On January 7, 2010, a search of the Mazza family home revealed approximately two pounds of marijuana, more than $11,000 in cash and a digital scale from Sterling Mazza’s bedroom.

Cheyne Mazza is scheduled to be sentenced on August 29, 2011.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force, notably the Ansonia Police Department. The Task Force also includes participants from the New Haven, Meriden, Hamden, West Haven and Branford Police Departments.


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