On the heels of the news that the amount of oxycodone prescriptions filled in New York doubled between 2007 and 2010 comes the report of a Staten Island operation that allegedly sold the painkiller from the back of an ice cream truck. Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan released a statement announcing the dismantling of the 31-person drug ring in “Operation Bad Medicine.” The name of the operation is a little misleading, as the medicine was so good its street value was approximately $20 a pill.
Louis Scala and Joseph Zaffuto, the accused heads of the ring, reportedly obtained the prescriptions from Nancy Wilkins, an office manager for an orthopedic surgeon in Manhattan. Scala and Zaffuto would send runners to pick up the pills at small pharmacies (mostly in Staten Island), then sell them out of the back of Scala’s ice cream truck.
Brennan said that the scheme involved almost 43,000 pills, which were worth around $1 million:
“This narcotics organization was as predatory as any I have seen — in its structure and distribution practices. Most of the individuals recruited to fill bogus prescriptions were among society’s most vulnerable — young, financially desperate and addicted to oxycodone. To attract buyers, highly addictive drugs were often initially given out for free. Once the customers were hooked, they were charged ever escalating prices for their ever increasing appetite for oxycodone.”
It is unknown whether or not Scala and Zaffuto used this strategy for Flintstone Push-Ups as well.
Louis Scala was released on $15,000 bail yesterday. Joseph Zaffuto and Nancy Wilkins are still in custody.