He’s apparently following in his grandfather’s footsteps to jail.
John Gotti, 23, of Howard Beach — grandson of the late crime boss John Gotti — and seven other individuals have been charged for their alleged roles in a drug dealing scheme in the community and neighboring Ozone Park, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced on Thursday.
The younger Gotti’s home along with two other residences and the Rebel Ink Tattoo Parlor on Cross Bay Boulevard — of which Gotti is allegedly a partner in the business — were also raided by law enforcement agents on Thursday morning. The searches led to the recovery of more than $240,000 in cash, more than 850 Oxycodone and Xanax pills, drug ledgers and other records.
Prosecutors said Gotti and the co-defendants — Melissa Erul, 23, of Lynbrook, Long Island; Michael Farduchi, 24, of Ozone Park; Eleonor Gabrielle, 27, of Howard Beach (Gotti’s girlfriend); Shaine Hack, 37, of Howard Beach; Edward Holohan, 50, of Glendale; Steve Kruger, 57, of Howard Beach; and husband and wife Dawn Biers, 46, and Justin Testa, 41, of Ozone Park — conspired to deal Oxycodone, Xanax and other prescription drugs illegally throughout Howard Beach and Ozone Park over the last 12 months.
The NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Queens South and the Queens DA’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau busted the drug ring through an extensive investigation that included $46,000 worth of numerous, recorded undercover purchases of Oxycodone from Gotti and his alleged associates. Various surveillance techniques — including wiretaps and the installation of a listening device on an Infiniti G35 sedan that Gotti allegedly used — were also utilized during the course of the probe.
“The drug in which the defendants are alleged to have primarily trafficked — Oxycodone — is especially popular with club patrons despite the fact that it poses serious health risks,” Brown said in a statement. “In recent months, we have seen a significant rise in the use and abuse of prescription painkillers. Drugs such as Oxycodone are extremely potent and have a high potential for abuse and death.”
Prosecutors identified Gotti as the primary seller in the organization, offering Oxycodone pills to buyers for $23 or $24 per pill. Testa and Kruger allegedly worked with Gotti to supply him with the medication for sale.
Hack was charged with allegedly storing the proceeds of the illegal drug sales and arranging some of the drug transactions. Law enforcement agents learned through an intercepted conversation that Hack claimed to be storing $200,000 of drug sale proceeds belonging to Gotti inside his apartment.
Police initially arrested Gotti and Hack on June 30 in what appeared at first to be a routine traffic stop; Gotti was behind the wheel of a 2009 Jeep that cops believed had excessively dark windows. During a search of both suspects and the Jeep, officers recovered an assortment of drugs including more than 200 Oxycodone pills, steroids, Xanax, methadone and marijuana, as well as more than $7,800 in cash.
Gotti was charged Thursday with operating as a major trafficker, criminal sale of a controlled substance, money laundering and conspiracy. Hack was also charged with money laundering and conspiracy. The others were variously charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
Gotti is the grandson of the late John Gotti, the former head of the Gambino crime family who rose to prominence during the late 1980s. Based out of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, the “Teflon Don,” as he was called, was known for not shying away from the spotlight even as he was the focus of repeated prosecutions for criminal activity.
The elder Gotti was acquitted three times before finally being found guilty in 1992 on charges including murder, racketeering and conspiracy; he died in prison in 2003.