By Mark Hallum
John Gotti, 23, the grandson and namesake of famous crime boss John Gotti, pleaded guilty to selling oxycodone last week and was expected to be sentenced to eight years, the Queens district attorney said.
Gotti was charged in Queens Criminal Court in August with possession, criminal selling of a controlled substance and money laundering, a series of operations spearheaded by the late mobster’s grandson, DA Richard Brown said.
“Today’s guilty plea sends a message to all drug dealers that we will not tolerate the illegal drug trafficking that is destroying our young people and our communities. Do not expect any leniency because you are illegally trafficking prescription medications – rather than cocaine or heroin,” Brown said Feb. 5. “It cannot be stressed enough that these medications are addictive and dangerous and when abused, they destroy the lives of those who use them.”
Seven defendants in total were arrested for alleged involvement in the illegal sale of not only oxycodone, but Xanax, in the neighborhoods of Howard Beach and Ozone Part, the DA said.
Law enforcement officials said the investigation employed techniques such as surveillance, undercover buy operations, warranted wiretapping and a listening device planted in Gotti’s Infinity G35 sedan.
Authorities overheard a conversation in which Gotti outlined an extensive and profitable underground trade in pharmaceutical drugs. Gotti admitted to selling more than 4,200 pills a month, averaging about $100,000 in sales in that period of time. The pills cost $21 to $30 each, according to Brown.
He kept trafficking records and $200,000 stored at an associate’s house in case he was arrested, the DA said.
Gotti estimated that his oxycodone trafficking business generated about $1.6 million annually.
“As the use of prescription drugs in this country has dramatically increased over the last 20 years, so has their misuse – killing far more people in the United States each year than illegal opioids. According to the Centers for Disease Control, deaths from prescription opioids have more than quadrupled since 1999 and 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Oxycodone, in particular, is extremely potent and has a high potential for abuse and death.”
Cops were said to have purchased $46,080 worth of oxycodone from Gotti during 11 undercover buy operations between April 22, 2016, and July 28, 2016, 10 of which were recorded on both video and audio.
Gotti was stopped by cops on June 30 in Howard Beach for having windows tinted well below the legal level. It was discovered that Gotti’s driver’s licence had expired and a search of the vehicle yielded a Gucci bag with over 200 oxycodone pills, a bottle of testosterone for body building, and an assortment of Xanax, methadone pills and marijuana, according to prosecutors. Brown said $5,600 in cash was also found in the vehicle along with $2,271 in cash from Gotti’s pants pocket. of the money seized, $7,000 was traced back to that used by police in the undercover buy operations.
In August, a search of Gotti’s home at 160-11 85th St. found $52,000 in cash and 480 pills, the DA said.
Gotti will be sentenced March 2 and is expected to serve eight years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. He is currently being held with a $2 million bail.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall