STAMFORD — Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that 20 people have been arrested on charges of involvement in an oxycodone ring that ran the powerful prescription drug from Florida to Waterbury.
Of those arrested, two were from Naugatuck and six were from Waterbury, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Most of the arrests were made Monday and Tuesday, prosecutors said.
“In less than one year, this conspiracy was responsible for the illegal transportation and distribution of tens of thousands of highly addictive prescription narcotic pills from Florida to users in Connecticut,” said David Fein, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
Those charged include three Transportation Security Administration officers based at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida and Westchester County Airport in New York, as well as a Florida state trooper and a Westchester County police officer. Prosecutors claim they took bribes from a drug runner who became an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The sting operation, named Operation Blue Coast, began in April with the arrest of a man in a Stamford hotel who had brought about 6,000 oxycodone pills from Florida. The man, whom prosecutors would not name, agreed to act as an informant to benefit him in a pending court case.
The informant said he and another unidentified man, who was also arrested in June and subsequently became an informant, bought oxycodone in Florida and brought it to Waterbury via plane and car to sell at a higher price.
Oxycodone, a painkiller often prescribed under the brand name OxyContin, is a highly addictive narcotic.
The informants arranged to sell oxycodone pills to people they knew in Waterbury in Naugatuck, including some dealers, for between $5,500 and $50,000, depending on the quantity, according to affidavits filed in federal court. Some of the dealers agreed to buy between 4,000 and 7,000 pills, according to court documents.
Federal drug enforcement officers and local police, including the Waterbury Police Department, joined forces to investigate and arrested six suspects from Waterbury and two from Naugatuck. The defendants from Naugatuck are Steven Stopper, 46, and Kevin Lund, 38. Waterbury residents 28-year-old Bruce “YB” Yazdzik, 26-year-old David “Wade” Gaudiosi, 26-year-old Patrick Serafine, 21-year-old Marivette Alicea, 49-year-old Bernard Famiglietti and 30-year-old Sandra Canfield, were also arrested.
Drug enforcement officers listened to phone conversations recorded by the informants and went to transactions they arranged with local buyers, where buyers were arrested after paying for pills. Famiglietti was arrested while buying 4,000 pills for $44,000 for Serafine, who is his nephew and a dealer, according to charging documents.
Gaudiosi, whom prosecutors also identify as a dealer, was arrested in a Danbury hotel after paying $12,000 for 1,000 pills. He said he had gone to Florida with Yazdzik to buy pills from one of the informants, who confirmed the statement. Yazdzik was described as a dealer based in Waterbury who was suspicious that other dealers were trying to turn him in, leading him to send his sister, Canfield, to buy drugs for him.
One of the informants arranged to sell oxycodone to Alicea in a Waterbury hotel parking lot, where she was arrested and found to have $5,500 in her car, according to an affidavit.
DEA officers also arrested Lund and Stopper after the same informant arranged to meet them in a parking lot, where they arrived in a black Dodge truck, according to the affidavit. Lund, a passenger, got out holding $7,000, according to the affidavit. After Lund was arrested, he said he was buying pills for Stopper, the driver, as he had done in the past. Stopper denied the money was his.
All of those arrested face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.