August 29, 2011
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: (617) 557-2100
Oxford Man Sentenced To 14 Years In Federal Prison For Leading Marijuana Growing And Distribution Conspiracy
NEW HAVEN , 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, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 168 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for his leadership of a marijuana growing and distribution conspiracy. Mazza also was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $50,000.
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, James Canavan of Ansonia and others, 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. Cassetti lived at 72 Root Avenue, and Canavan and Sterling Mazza were Cassetti’s tenants at 63 Root Avenue. Cheyne Mazza arranged for the installation of electrical service to operate lighting needed to cultivate marijuana at the locations, and provided the marijuana plants and other equipment. After the marijuana was cultivated, Cheyne Mazza distributed it to a network of street-level dealers.
In November 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police executed state search and seizure warrants at the Ansonia and Oxford properties and seized more than 1400 marijuana plants and equipment used to grow and process marijuana. One marijuana plant can yield approximately one pound of marijuana.
Cheyne Mazza has been detained since his arrest in Derby on December 1, 2009, when law enforcement found him in possession of more than two pounds of marijuana.
The government has presented evidence to the court that, while detained, Cheyne Mazza threatened witnesses and instructed individuals not to make statements, not to testify before the grand jury, and to make false statements.
On May 18, 2011, Mazza pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 1000 or more marijuana plants.
Sterling Mazza, Cassetti and Canavan each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute 1000 or more marijuana plants. On August 23, 2011, Sterling Mazza and Cassetti were sentenced to 37 months of imprisonment, and Canavan was sentenced to 46 months of imprisonment. Cassetti also was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, and has forfeited $100,000 to the government.
As part of this case, Cheyne Mazza also has forfeited two vehicles, a 2005 BMW M5 and a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado.
This matter was 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.