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Drug Traffickers Used Staten Island Barber Shop to Sell Drugs and Oversee Gun Sales
Three targets arrested; 4 illegal guns and quantity of drugs recovered

OCT 17 (STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.) - Brian Crowell, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division (DEA), Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced today the arrests and indictments of Anthony Lagala, JR., Adam Paone and Marat Ayzenberg after a 10-month investigation into illicit drug and gun trafficking.

SAC Brian Crowell (left), Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan, NYPD Deputy Inspector Richard Green addressing the media.

SAC Brian Crowell  (left), Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan, NYPD Deputy Inspector Richard Green addressing the media.

The law enforcement investigation included the use of confidential sources, electronic surveillance and physical surveillance. The three defendants primarily used the Beyond Styles barbershop, owned by Lagala and located at 12 Giffords Lane in Great Kills, as their base for the illegal operation. However, defendant Paone also sold guns and drugs from his Prince’s Bay home, with Lagala and Ayzenberg often assisting in the illicit transactions. One of the drug sales was also done in the parking lot of the South Shore YMCA, a fitness center that also houses a universal pre-K program for children.

The four guns recovered during the investigation include:

  • a .45 caliber Kimber firearm purchased for $1,500 from Lagala, Ayzenberg and Paone on June 28, 2013 inside the Beyond Styles barbershop
  • a defaced .38-caliber Colt firearm and a Taurus 9mm firearm both purchased for $1,650 from Ayzenberg and Paone on July 26, 2013 inside 35 Knox Street, apt. 1
  • an Israeli-made Uzi 9mm firearm purchased for $2,500 from Paone on Oct. 2, 2013 outside of 35 Knox Street, apt. 1, in a deal that was brokered by Lagala

Also purchased during the investigation were 398 Oxycodone pills and 10 glassines of cocaine sold by Lagala and Paone over the course of eight dates.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated, “This 10-month investigation depicts the dangerous link between illicit drug trafficking and gun trafficking. The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad, the NYPD Intelligence Division and the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office worked to identify these three individuals responsible for not only selling $20,000 worth of diverted pain medication per week out of a barber shop, but also for selling guns.  Using the ‘Beyond Styles’ barbershop as a front, the group oversaw the sale of oxycodone and guns; including a defaced firearm and a fully automatic Uzi. I commend the men and women from the DEA, NYPD, Town of Orangetown Police Department, Westchester County Police Department, New York State Department of Financial Services and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office for their dedication to duty to protect our citizens from the primary drug threat on Staten Island.”                

"These three defendants are alleged to have trafficked deadly weapons and illegal drugs that would have certainly been circulating on the streets of Staten Island had it not been for the fine investigative work by my prosecutors and the brave investigators of the DEA and NYPD," said Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. “The operation was set up in the ‘Beyond Styles’ barbershop, and what these defendants did goes beyond the pale. They trafficked guns and drugs out of a business located in the heart of residential Great Kills, a place where families come to shop and commuters go to take the train. We live in the safest borough in the city, in the safest big city in America, and it just became safer with the arrests of these individuals.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, “The arrests announced today are part of the NYPD's multi-pronged approach to combating prescription drug abuse and related crime, in this case dangerous illegal gun sales which are being further investigated. On Staten Island, and elsewhere, police are educating the public on the signs and consequences of addiction, and will arrest those who perpetuate it and exploit lives for profit.”

In the early morning of October 15, 2013 members of the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad working with NYPD Intelligence Unit and New York State Department of Financial Services executed seven search warrants, yielding the arrests of the targeted suspects as well as additional quantities of Oxycodone, as well as amphetamines, Suboxone and marijuana.

Two additional individuals were also arrested during these searches: Thomas Paone, for preventing DEA agents from entering the Knox Street apartment he shares with his brother, and Sal Lagala, for drug possession.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cilia of the Richmond Country District Attorney’s Office, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Kyle Reeves, Supreme Court Bureau Chief.  This joint investigation was led by the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad and the NYPD Intelligence Unit with assistance from the New York State Department of Financial Services. The DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad (Group TDS-NY) is comprised of agents and officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the New York City Police Department, Town of Orangetown Police Department and Westchester County Police Department.

The charges contained in the criminal complaints are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The defendants are facing multiple counts including weapons possession and sales, and drug possession and sales.

Anthony Lagala, Jr., 26
10/16/86
4 Dierauf Street, SI NY
Arraigned 10/16/13, Remanded without bail
If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum of 88 years in prison.

Adam Paone, 29
5/10/84
35 Knox Street, SI NY
Arraigned 10/16/13, Remanded without bail
If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum of 47 years in prison.

Marat Ayzenberg, 30
1/16/83
38 Hillbrook Court, SI NY
Arraigned 10/16/13, held on $500,000 bail or bond
If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum of 21 years in prison.

Sal Lagala, 23
9/10/90
4 Dierauf Street, SI NY
Arraigned 10/16/13, Released on his own recognizance
Charges:
Criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th degree
Possession of controlled substances by ultimate users original container

Thomas Paone, 25
7/7/88
35 Knox Street, SI NY
Arraigned 10/16/13, Released on his own recognizance
Charges:
Obstruction of governmental administration, 2nd degree

Resisting arrest

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