Feds: Danbury area cops helped drug ring

Update:

Visitors, I hope you are following the story that is unfolding in Connecticut.

  • A drug dealer is busted for selling steroids and claims that’s he’s been selling to area high school athletes.
  • School officials are in “shock” as they can’t believe that their athletes would do something like this
  • The Feds now claim that local cops tipped off the drug dealer in order to help him avoid arrest.
Parents, this is going on in communities across this country.  Our kids are using steroids and adults’ first reaction is to deny that students under their watch would ever think about using drugs like these!  And to make matters worse, many law enforcement folks are caught up in this behavior, too (as you’ve read in this blog before).

It is time to hold our officials accountable for their poor leadership on this topic.  And it begins by mandating formal training for every coach, athletic director, athletic trainer and others who are charged with supervising our children on the athletic field.

Don

BRIDGEPORT — The reputed head of a drug trafficking organization that allegedly dealt in anabolic steroids and marijuana in Greater Danbury got help from unidentified Danbury police officers, according to a federal prosecutor.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Vizcarrondo claimed in open court on March 1 that the officers informed Mark Mansa that he was a target of an investigation and in one instance identified investigating Danbury detectives.

Furthermore, Vizcarrondo said that Mansa, the 46-year-old Bethel businessman who federal investigators say headed the steroid operation that numbered Greater Danbury high school student-athletes among its customers, bragged to associates that “his connections go further than the Danbury Police Department.”

The prosecutor said those connections included a lieutenant in the New Milford Police Department and officers in the Wilton Police Department.

Police and top elected officials in the three communities expressed surprise at the allegations and defended the members of their police departments.

New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy was skeptical of the federal prosecutor’s statements about corrupt cops and said she would be discussing the matter with Police Chief Shawn Boyne on Friday morning.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was equally as skeptical. He said the allegations don’t jibe with the facts of the investigation, which originated within the Danbury Police Department.

Danbury Police Chief Al Baker said the statements “sound like rumors spread by a defense attorney,” and Wilton First Selectman William Brennan defended the members of his town’s department as “the straightest bunch of arrows going.”

Speaking in court on March 1, Vizcarrondo said, “Even if the connections that he has bragged about repeatedly on the wire and to cooperating witnesses is less than truthful, the idea is that Mr. Mansa knows what’s coming, knows when the heat is on, can get out from under it and has enough information to do what needs to be done to protect himself and his enterprise either through the strength and strongarm of gangs like the Hells Angels or Bonannos (to which two co-defendants reputedly have ties) or if necessary through other means like local law enforcement… That becomes incredibly troubling.”

The allegations were made during Mansa’s bond hearing conducted in open court March 1 before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel.

Garfinkel granted Vizcarrondo’s request to detain Mansa without bond as a danger to the community and risk of flight.

Hearst Media Services, parent firm of The News-Times and the Connecticut Post, obtained an audio recording of the hearing in which the allegations were made.

Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on the disclosure except to say the investigation is ongoing.

During the March 1 hearing, Vizcarrondo said there is evidence in one instance that “Mr. Mansa and his associates were able to identify Danbury detectives…”

He said calls were made “to members of the Danbury Police Department” to obtain information and “by those means… he was able to confirm that he was a target of an investigation.”

As a result, the prosecutor said, Mansa changed “his patterns and his practices in response.”

None of the officers allegedly involved was identified, nor have any officers been charged in connection with the case.

So far, Mansa, formerly of Empire Lane, Bethel; Kevin Lubic, 48, of Salem, N.Y., a reputed member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club’s New Roc City chapter; Richard Sciaccetano, of Sturat, Fla., who prosecutors say has ties to the Bonanno crime family, which his lawyer, Robert Golger, denies; and Glenn Wagner of Brookfield have been charged in a four-year-long conspiracy to distribute more than 220 pounds of marijuana in Connecticut.

Additionally, Mansa is charged with conspiring from January 2004 through Feb. 24, 2011, to distribute anabolic steroids, particularly nadrolone decanoate (also known as deca durabolin) and testosterone. His customers include adults, body builders and high school athletes, according to the feds.

No other defendants have been charged in that alleged conspiracy. It is alleged that Mansa monthly sold 70 bottles of 200 milligram anabolic steroids for as much as $90 each.

Mansa and Wagner were arrested Feb. 24 following what police said was a $60,000 marijuana deal. Federal investigators, working with the Danbury Police Department’s Special Investigation Division and Brookfield police seized 40 pounds of marijuana and a sawed-off shotgun from Wagner.

Wagner is expected to plead not guilty to the marijuana conspiracy and two gun charges when he is arraigned Friday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons. The judge will determine if Wagner, who is undergoing chemotherapy, will be released on bond.

Late Thursday afternoon Fitzsimmons did allow Lubic released on $1 million bond, which was posted by his father.

Lubic, who is still on federal probation supervision from a prior federal marijuana conspiracy conviction, was placed on curfew and ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.

Vizcarrondo said Mansa and Lubic are very friendly and often socialize.

During Mansa’s March 1 hearing, Vizcarrondo accused Lubic of making telephone calls to the family of a cooperating witness.

During the call, Lubic allegedly asked about the witness’s health, his location and his well-being “in a menacing manner,” the prosecutor said.

That witness later found a rubber rat tossed onto his front doorstep.

The prosecutor said the implication was that the witness “should shut his mouth or things might happen to him.”

Neither Lubic nor his lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier of New York, would comment on the charges as they left the courthouse Thursday.

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