A Queens woman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for distributing drugs that led to the overdose deaths of four men at motels in 2019, according to court documents.
Angelina Barini, 43, was sentenced Tuesday after she pleaded guilty in Aug. 2021 to two counts of distributing the narcotics that led to multiple deaths, as well as a count of distributing methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine.
She also admitted to conspiring to distribute gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), more commonly known as a "date rape" drug.
According to a criminal complaint, agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and other law enforcement members had been investigating several lethal drug overdoses in New York City hotel rooms between July and Aug. 2019. Barini was linked to four cases.
"The defendant drugged and killed multiple people for a few quick dollars. She stole their personal belongings while they lay unconscious dying from the lethal drugs she gave them. The defendant’s substantial prison sentence is warranted by her shocking disregard for human life," stated U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. "Hopefully, today’s sentence will bring some solace to the victims’ families and serve as a warning to future perpetrators that there are significant consequences to these horrific crimes."
A previous criminal complaint did not name the men, referring to each of them only as John Doe.
On July 4, 2019, Barini — a sex worker at the time — met with a victim at a motel in Astoria and gave him fentanyl-laced drugs, according to court filings and statements from court hearings; that man was found dead later that same day. Another man was found dead a week later, on July 11, at a motel in Woodside after he was also given fentanyl-laced drugs by Barini earlier in the day, prosecutors said.
Barini met with another victim, a 60-year-old man, on Aug. 5 in College Point and provided the fentanyl that led to his overdose death as well, court documents state.
Another case to which Barini was connected involved a body discovered at the Kamway Lodge in Elmhurst on Aug. 21, the same place and day where a once-missing Grand Central head chef was found dead.
A criminal complaint described "John Doe 3" as a man who had been reported missing, which Andrea Zamperoni had been days earlier. Barini opened the door when investigators knocked on the door at Kamway Lodge that day; she quickly shut it, but the complaint says officers smelled a scent consistent with a dead body, along with burning incense, and questioned her.
According to the complaint, law enforcement authorities saw what appeared to be a garbage can with bed linens stuffed inside and a bare human foot sticking out.
Barini allegedly told officers she "didn't do it, her pimp made her do it and it was not her," according to the complaint. The victim in that case was a 33-year-old man from Italy, the same age and origin as Zamperoni.
Cellphones, clothing, a glass pipe commonly used to smoke drugs and an American Express credit card bearing John Doe 3's name were found in the room, the complaint said. Also found: bottles of bleach and bleach-covered towels, electronics, a power saw and an empty suitcase, the complaint stated.
Barini told authorities she had met the man from Italy three days earlier and they went to the lodge, where he paid her for sex; she said he didn't wake up and was bleeding from the nose and mouth, telling authorities her pimp wouldn't let her call authorities, the complaint says. She also allegedly told investigators the body was wrapped in a garbage bag and her alleged associates, who would sometimes take property of victims once they were drugged, came into the room to talk about whether to cut up the body.
While she initially denied that she gave John Doe 3 drugs, the complaint says she later admitted one of her alleged co-conspirators gave him "liquid ecstasy." She also allegedly confessed to giving clients drugs, supplied by her alleged co-conspirators, on occasion, according to the federal complaint.
Barini was arrested by Department of Homeland Security agents and the NYPD on Aug. 25, 2019, after being linked to the deaths in the two months prior, court papers stated.
"Displaying complete disregard for human life, Barini peddled fentanyl-laced drugs to her victims who tragically lost their lives to temporary highs...This case is a painful reminder that there are people like Barini who prey on addicts, turning deadly fentanyl cocktails into quick profits," said HSI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Ricky Patel.