Angelo Pozza, 78, pleaded guilty to felony counts of running a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, and delivery of a controlled substance. He has been sentenced to up to 120 months in state prison and ordered to pay fines totaling $40,000.
Angelo Pozza, the 78-year-old former owner of Red Maples Public Golf Course in Waymart, Pa., was sentenced to 31 to 120 months in state prison and ordered to pay fines totaling $40,000 after participating in a large-scale drug ring, the Wayne (Pa.) Independent reported.
Pozza apologized in Wayne County court. “I deeply regret what I’ve done…I struggle every day to find out what I did. I just don’t want to live anymore.”
Pozza could be eligible for release after serving 23 months, the Independent reported.
Pozza pleaded guilty in March to felony counts of running a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy to deliver more than 50 milligrams of cocaine, criminal use of a communication facility, and delivery of a controlled substance in excess of 50 milligrams of cocaine, the Independent reported.
Pozza was part of a large-scale drug ring that was busted in February 2013 after a 2-½ year investigation. The investigation, known as “Operation Penalty Stroke,” exposed a $1.4 million Bronx to Northeastern Pennsylvania cocaine trafficking ring, the Independent reported.
Sixteen other defendants have been sentenced in the case. The leader, Catherine Gabriel, 48, of Scott Township, Lackawanna County, faces up to 47 years in prison when she is sentenced June 26, the Independent reported.
Thomas Jones, Pozza’s lawyer, asked the court for leniency. He said his client is a generous person who really didn’t benefit from the drug operation—his take was only about $10,000. Jones also said Pozza is not in good physical health and has “very, very serious conditions,” including cancer and kidney disease, the Independent reported.
The lawyer said Pozza’s involvement in the ring was more of a “social engagement” that he deeply regrets. Jones asked the court for a sentence of either a long probationary period, home confinement or imprisonment at the county level, the Independent reported.
Deputy Attorney General Timothy Doherty, who prosecuted the case, acknowledged Pozza cooperated with authorities after his arrest, the Independent reported.
Judge Raymond Hamill agreed that Pozza, except for his crime, is a generous person who helped neighbors, friends and family, the Independent reported.
“And then you dealt cocaine for three to four years,” the judge told the defendant. Hamill also tried to figure out what Pozza’s motive was in dealing the drugs, the Independent reported.
“It seems to me that you can’t say no to someone because you want to be liked,” the judge told Pozza.
Hamill believed a prison sentence was necessary. “Four felonies and you hope to get probation?” Hamill also noted that Pozza can get proper, intensive treatment at a state facility, contrary to what was said by the defendant’s lawyer, the Independent reported.
During the investigation, narcotics agents made 14 controlled purchases from Pozza at Red Maples, court papers state. A grand jury found Pozza had used the golf course as the primary base of operations, selling a minimum of $300,000 worth of cocaine he obtained from Gabriel, the Independent reported.
Agents believe Gabriel was responsible for trafficking approximately 15,000 grams of cocaine into Pennsylvania. Agents said Pozza and Gabriel had regular customers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, who would purchase cocaine for either personal use or redistribution, the Independent reported.