A Staten Island ice cream truck was serving up more than dessert -- a ring of drug dealers was using the mobile treat truck to sell painkillers, prosecutors said.
Thirty-one people were charged Thursday with operating a drug ring that sold Oxycodone pills out of a truck parked on a Staten Island street. The opiate is the generic form of Oxycontin.
Prosecutors said the ringleaders, Louis Scala and Joseph Zaffuto -- who was a low-level Lucchese crime family associate -- bought illegal prescriptions from another defendant, Nancy Wilkins, who worked as an office manager for a Manhattan doctor.
The defendants then hired friends, family, neighbors and others to take the fake prescriptions to pharmacies and fill them. The drugs were sold, alongside frozen treats, from the Lickety Split ice cream truck that Scala operated.
Prosecutors could not say whether the three accused ringleaders had lawyers, and they could not immediately be reached for comment.
New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said the ring sold more than 40,000 Oxycodone pills between July 2009 and June 2010.
The operation netted more than $1 million, she said.
Wilkins sold prescription pads for about $100 a piece to Scala and Zaffuto.
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. said the ice cream drug dealing takedown is a reminder that painkillers are not safer or more respectable than so-called street drugs.
"In many ways, this new trend of illegal drugs is no different than the crack epidemic that plagued our city in the 1990s: both are highly addictive narcotics, both engender violent crime and both destroy lives and communities."