By Mark Hallum
John Gotti, the 23-year-old grandson of the infamous crime lord, has been sentenced to eight years in prison following a guilty plea for selling prescription drugs that earned him $1.6 million a year, according to the Queens district attorney
Gotti pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit a felony, sidestepping a sentence of 25 years to life, DA Richard Brown said.
“The sentence imposed today by the court sends a strong message to all drug dealers that illegal drug trafficking in Queens will not be tolerated. Drug abuse and misuse can destroy the lives of young people and wreak havoc in our communities,” Brown said. “Do not expect any leniency from dealing prescription drugs rather than peddling in cocaine or heroin. It cannot be stressed enough that drugs like Oxycodone are just as addictive and dangerous.”
Seven defendants were arrested for their alleged involvement with Gotti in the illegal sale of Oxycodone and Xanax in the neighborhoods of Howard Beach and Ozone Park, the DA said. Law enforcement officers conducted an extensive investigation which employed surveillance methods, undercover buy operations, warranted wiretapping and a listening device planted in Gotti’s Infinity G35 sedan.
Gotti is the namesake of John Gotti, known as the Dapper Dan, who was the head of the Gambino crime family and died in prison in 2002. The younger Gotti was arrested in his grandfather’s home in Howard Beach. He is the son of Peter Gotti, one of the crime family head’s sons.
Authorities overheard a conversation in which Gotti outlined a profitable underground trade in prescription drugs. Gotti admitted to selling more than 4,200 pills a month, averaging about $100,000 in sales in that period of time, the DA said The pills cost from $21 to $30 each.
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,” Brown said. “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.”
Gotti was stopped by cops 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 was ordered to forfeit an additional $250,000 in drug proceeds on top of his prison sentence.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall