It’s a beautiful spring-like day here in New York City, the kind where you open your windows and the kids play outside. It’s also the kind of day where you might hear an ice cream truck pull up playing that distinct music and you take the kids to grab a SpongeBob icy or a Popsicle. Most people would never think that the person behind the window might be a drug dealer, but that is exactly what happened in Staten Island, New York. The Lickety Split ice cream truck was doubling as a million dollar drug business and selling Oxycodone pills for $20 a pop.
Apparently the drug addicts in the servicing neighborhoods of Pleasant Plains and Charleston knew the truck dished out drugs alongside the ice cream. Adult addicts would sit in their cars waiting for local kids to finish buying their ice cream. Once the kids left, they would line up for painkillers. The drug of choice was the generic version highly addictive Oxycontin narcotic pain reliever, Oxycodone.
According to the NY Daily News, there were several people involved in the operation:
Ringleaders Louis Scala, 29, and Joseph Zaffuto, 39, got hundreds of blank prescriptions from co-defendant Nancy Wilkins, 40, the office manager for an unsuspecting Manhattan orthopedic surgeon, officials said.
They forged them and recruited friends, relatives and neighbors to be “runners” who went to mom-and-pop pharmacies to fill the prescriptions.
They paid about $1.66 a pill, then turned them over to Scala and Zaffuto, who sold them for $20 each, prosecutors said. The runners, many of them addicts, got a few bucks or pills as payment.
The ring was discovered this past June and in total 31 people were indicted this past Thursday, and were charged with helping to distribute 42,755 tablets of Oxycodone pain tablets.
It’s no surprise that these pain pills in particular are on the rise on the black market. District Attorney Daniel Donovan said that black market sales of Oxycodone pills are becoming increasingly widespread. “We are equating this now to the epidemic that we saw when crack cocaine was first introduced in New York City,” he said.