May 18, 2011
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Oxford Man Admits Leading Marijuana Growing And Distribution Conspiracy
HARTFORD, CT. - Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CHEYNE MAZZA, 29, of Oxford, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between March 2008 and January 2010, MAZZA led a conspiracy that included his sister, Sterling Mazza of Oxford, Joseph Cassetti of Ansonia and James Canavan of Ansonia, to manufacture and distribute large quantities of marijuana. Much of the marijuana was grown at properties owned by Cassetti located at 72 Root Avenue and 63 Root Avenue in Ansonia, as well as at 21 Pawnee Road in Oxford, a Cassetti family property that had been rented to CHEYNE MAZZA. In November 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police executed state search and seizure warrants at these properties and seized more than 1400 marijuana plants and equipment used to grow and process marijuana.
MAZZA has been detained since his arrest on December 1, 2009, when law enforcement found him in possession of more than two pounds of marijuana.
Judge Bryant has scheduled sentencing for August 5, 2011, at which time MAZZA faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and a fine of up to $4 million.
In association with the prosecution of this matter, the government is seeking the forfeiture of real properties and vehicles owned by the participants, as well as cash seized during the investigation.
Sterling Mazza, Cassetti and Canavan have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants. Two additional defendants charged as a result of the investigation, Philip Negron of Derby and Gary Eichensehr of Seymour, have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to structure financial transactions at a domestic financial institution to evade federal reporting requirements. All await sentencing.
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force, notably the Ansonia Police Department. The Task Force also includes participants from the New Haven, Meriden, Hamden, West Haven and Branford Police Departments.