April 15, 2015
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-2906
Joint Investigation Leads To Arrest Of Doctor For Selling Assault Weapons & Drugs During Course Of Murder-for-Hire Plot
Plot targeted fellow cardiologist; Massive cache of weapons found in doctor’s Sands Point home in secret room behind moving bookshelf
MINEOLA, N.Y. - Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), New York Division, Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau County Police (NCPD) Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter announced that a joint investigation has led to the arrest of several individuals including a Great Neck cardiologist charged with selling assault rifles and drugs during the course of a complex murder-for-hire plot against a competing doctor.
The execution of search warrants on April 14, during the fourth month of an investigation that is still ongoing, also led to the discovery of a cache of approximately 100 weapons in the doctor’s home, including a hand grenade as well as an AR-15 and an M1 Carbine, each with illegal high-capacity magazines. Many of the guns and other weapons such as knives were found in a hidden basement room only revealed via a switch-activated, moving bookshelf in the doctor’s Sands Point home.
Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto, 54, of Sands Point, is currently charged with the following and faces a maximum sentence of 8-1/3 to 25 years in prison on the top charge:
- Conspiracy in the 2nd (a B felony)
- Conspiracy in the 4th (an E felony)
- Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance (a C felony)
- Arson in the 3rd (a C felony)
- Burglary in the 3rd (a D felony)
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 3rd (a D felony)
- Two counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the 3rd (a D felony)
- Criminal Solicitation in the 2nd (a D felony)
- Criminal Solicitation in the 4th (an A misdemeanor)
James Chmela, 43, of Selden, is charged with the following and faces a maximum sentence of 3-1/2 to 15 years in prison on the top charge:
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd (a C felony)
- Arson in the 3rd (a C felony)
- Burglary in the 3rd (a D felony)
- Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the 3rd (a D felony)
James Kalamaras, 41, of Suffolk County, is charged with Arson in the 3rd (a C felony) and Burglary in the 3rd (a D felony). He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The defendants were arrested yesterday and will be arraigned in Nassau County District Court today. Additional charges may be filed based upon the findings by detectives.
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said, “Dr. Moschetto is a new breed of drug trafficker; one who sells blank prescription pads, assault weapons; plots attempted murders, commits arson and distributes diverted prescription pain pills out of his medical office. Through an intensive investigation, law enforcement removed the threat Dr. Moschetto posed to the public while shutting down another pill distribution network in Long Island.”
“What started as a routine investigation into the sale of prescription drugs revealed itself to be an even graver and more complex case with very serious allegations involving arson, assault weapons and even a murder plot,” Acting DA Madeline Singas said. “Doctors are supposed to ensure the health and wellbeing of people, but Dr. Moschetto is alleged to have replaced that responsibility with brazen, callous and criminal acts. Thanks to the courage and persistence of undercover detectives, federal authorities and prosecutors, the arrests announced today have protected the public by stopping multiple violent and unscrupulous schemes dead in their tracks.”
Acting Commissioner Krumpter said, “Dr. Moschetto is a hidden monster living in the North Shore area who has no respect for law and life. I would like to commend the men and women who worked tirelessly on this investigation and exposing this man for what he truly is.”
Acting DA Singas said that the alleged murder for hire scheme was discovered when an undercover police investigation involving the purchase of Oxycodone pills led to the additional undercover purchases of heroin and two fully loaded assault weapons, as well as the seller’s pursuit of dynamite for the purpose of blowing up a property.
During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the assault weapons and prescriptions for the pills were originally acquired and transferred to the seller by Dr. Moschetto, who sought to pay for the arson of a fellow cardiologist’s office, as well as the murder of the fellow cardiologist, partially through the illegal transfer of prescriptions and the weapons.
The case dates back to December 2014, when the first of six undercover drug buys from the seller, until March 2015, was conducted. During this period of time, the drugs sold to undercover detectives included 410 Oxycodone pills and 198 bags of heroin.
Also sold to an undercover detective during the fourth buy, on Feb. 10, was one Israeli Military Industries brand Uzi 9-mm semi-automatic assault weapon with a 25-round magazine, one Norinco brand SKS 7.62 x 39 mm semi-automatic assault weapon with a 30-round magazine, and ammunition for both. Mr. Chmela took part in this sale along with the unnamed seller.
During the second buy of the investigation, on Jan. 22, the seller informed the undercover detective that he needed dynamite to blow up a building. During the sixth buy, on March 12, the seller said he no longer needed dynamite because he had a friend set fire to the building instead. That friend is alleged to be Mr. Kalamaras; Mr. Chmela is alleged to have also taken part in the arson; the fire is believed to have been set on or around Feb. 22. The fire damaged but did not destroy the office of another cardiologist whose relationship with Dr. Moschetto had soured due to a professional dispute.
During one of the undercover drug buys, a conversation ensued about a Feb. 25 arson that detectives were subsequently able to link to Dr. Moschetto as ordering it, to Mr. Kalamaras as conducting it and Mr. Chmela as assisting in it. The arson damaged but did not destroy the office of the fellow cardiologist, whose relationship with Dr. Moschetto had soured due to a professional dispute.
As the investigation progressed, Dr. Moschetto gave a confidential informant and an undercover detective blank prescriptions and cash as payments, at one point for the assault and at another point for the murder, of the fellow cardiologist. At one point Dr. Moschetto even asked for the assault of his victim’s wife if she was present during the primary assault. At the time of Dr. Moschetto’s arrest yesterday, his instruction had most recently reverted back to the commission of an assault against his victim.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the NCDA’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau; the NCPD’s Narcotics & Vice Squad and Arson Squad; and the DEA’s Long Island Division Office Tactical Diversion Squad, which consists of agents and officers of the DEA, Nassau County Police Department, Rockville Centre Police Department and Port Washington Police Department.
NCDA Organized Crime and Rackets ADA George Smit is prosecuting the case with Deputy Bureau Chief Anne Donnelly and Bureau Chief Rick Whelan.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.