LEADER OF NEW HAVEN AREA OXYCODONE
RING PLEADS GUILTY
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHAEL MARCHITTO, JR., 28, of Hamden, pleaded guilty on Friday, July 29, before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to narcotics distrbution and money laundering charges stemming from his leadership of a New Haven-area drug ring that trafficked in oxycodone, a power prescription pain killer.
MARCHITTO was arrested on April 7, 2011, in possession of approximately 2,000 oxycodone pills. The arrest marked the culmination of a long-term investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from police departments in New Haven, Hamden, Meriden, and Branford, which revealed that MARCHITTO headed a profitable oxycodone distribution organization based in the New Haven area. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Big Blue” because oxycodone pills are often blue in color, employed various investigative techniques, including surveillance, confidential informants and controlled purchases of oxycodone from MARCHITTO.
The investigation also included the use of a court-authorized wiretap on MARCHITTO’s cellular telephone.
“This case – the first of its kind in Connecticut to use a wiretap to investigate illegal distribution of prescription pills – demonstrates how serious and committed federal authorities are about targeting the distribution of prescription drugs, the abuse of which continues to increase in our region and across the country,” Fein said.
According to court documents and statements made in court, during the course of the investigation agents learned that MARCHITTO, along with several of his criminal associates, traveled to Florida approximately monthly to obtain bulk quantities of oxycodone at Florida pain clinics, which are commonly referred as “pill mills” because of the unscrupulous prescription practices to which they adhere. Agents followed MARCHITTO and his associates to Florida and observed their activities at the Florida “pill mills.”
MARCHITTO also paid at least three Florida residents to ship packages containing bulk quantities of oxycodone to him on a regular basis. MARCHITTO then redistributed the diverted pharmaceuticals to street-level oxycodone dealers in Connecticut, who, in turn, distributed the drugs to users.
In pleading guilty, MARCHITTO admitted his leadership role in the trafficking ring and acknowledged the substantial quantities of oxycodone that the organization distributed. MARCHITTO also admitted purchasing a 2010 Acura TL with approximately $44,000 in drug proceeds, conduct which formed the basis for the money laundering charge to which he pleaded guilty.
MARCHITTO has forfeited the vehicle in connection with his conviction.
When he is sentenced, MARCHITTO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years in prison on the drug charge and up to 10 years in prison on the money laundering charge.
Fifteen other individuals were arrested in connection with the case, all of whom face drug conspiracy charges.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that the indictment against the remaining defendants is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The remaining defendants are entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Caruso and Douglas Morabito.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT:
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE