News Release
January 27, 2010
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Suffolk Ketamine Ring Bust Results in 7 Arrests
Two Men Face Major Trafficker Chargers

JAN 27 -- (LONG ISLAND, NY)  JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA) and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota held a press conference today announcing the arrests of two Suffolk County men charged as major traffickers in Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer.

Seizures and photos of those arrested throughout the investigation

Seizures and photos of those arrested throughout the investigation

Evidence from the investigation Evidence from the investigation

Evidence from the investigation

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge JOHN P. GILBRIDE stated, “Ketamine is just as deadly as any other illicit drug.  DEA works in conjunction with our federal, state and international partners in order to identify, investigate and ultimately dismantle drug trafficking organizations.  This investigation proves that we will continue to weed out drug traffickers in our communities and keep our cities safe from the perils of drug abuse.”

JAMES V. PARRINO, 33 of Holbrook and JOHN T. DIPAOLA, 36, of Ronkonkoma, are charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, a new state statute signed into law last year.  PARRINO and DIPAOLA are the first defendants in Suffolk County to be charged under the “Drug Kingpin” statute which is a class A-1 felony.

“The 18-month investigation by this office, the DEA Task Force and the Suffolk County Police Department established this ring bought and sold multiple kilos of powdered Ketamine that they repackaged and relabeled for individual sale in Suffolk County and elsewhere,” Spota said.

The District Attorney said trafficking in Ketamine proved to be extremely lucrative for the participants who are alleged to have sold multiple kilos of Ketamine purchased from a source in China.  “Evidence gathered during the investigation established the ringleaders purchased one kilo of powdered Ketamine for $4,000 and, after mixing it with water, sold it for $40 per five milliliter bottle at an enormous profit.  If you do the math, for each $4,000 kilo of powder, PARRINO and ring members earned $400,000 on the street,” Spota said.

Except for licensed veterinarians, the use and possession of Ketamine, a Schedule Three controlled substance, is illegal in New York State.  According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Ketamine is snorted, injected or mixed in a liquid and consumed “for its hallucinogenic properties”.  “Very often its criminal use, as it was in this case, is as a club drug, but it is also abuse by weightlifters who believe it aids in their muscle recovery after strenuous exercise,” said Spota.

Arrested and charged with second degree conspiracy for their roles in the Ketamine distribution network are 33 year old DINO ALLOCATI of Queens and JOSEPH SCHILIRO, 30, of East Meadow.  CARL VRICELLA, 39, of Ronkonkoma is charged with criminal diversion of a prescription third degree and seventh degree criminal possession of cocaine, the latter seized during the execution of a search warrant at his Lakewood Avenue home.

MELISSA DIPAOLA, 26, of Ronkonkoma, the sister of codefendant JOHN DIPAOLA, is charged with seventh degree criminal possession of cocaine seized by detectives during the execution of a search warrant at her Pine Avenue home.

DAMIEN NOVELLO, 32, of Bayshore, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon; a loaded .22 Beretta handgun, and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for a bottle of Ketamine detectives found in his hooded sweatshirt during the execution of a search warrant at NOVELLO’S residence on West Bayshore Road.