Gotti Grandson, Others Charged with Running Queens-based Drug Ring

Former Gambino boss John Gotti's grandson and namesake appears to be facing a long, uphill legal battle, at the end of which a possible 25-year prison stretch may await him.

And in an ironic twist, it may be his own words that do him in.

Gotti, who was arrested with six others today, is alleged to have sold drugs to undercover officers -- and most of the buys were allegedly videotaped. In addition, numerous incriminating conversations were recorded as part of the year-long operation led by elements of the NYPD and the Queens DA.

Today, as 46 mobsters were busted up and down the East Coast for a host of mob-related crimes, the grandson of the former Gambino crime family boss and six others were charged with selling Oxycodone and other controlled substances in the Queens neighborhoods of Howard Beach and Ozone Park over the past year.

The New York City Police Department’s Narcotics Borough and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigations Bureau were the two key law enforcement groups behind the probe.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced the filing of criminal charges against seven individuals: John Gotti, Justin Testa, Shaine Hack, Steve Kruger, Edward Holohan, Michael Farduchi and Melissa Erul. In addition to the seven, others apparently were arrested including a woman allegedly described as Gotti's girlfriend.

All face various charges consisting of counts related to the illegal sales of a controlled substance, conspiracy and money laundering. 

District Attorney Brown identified Gotti, 23, as "the main seller of the organization (that) primarily sold Oxycodone pills for around $23-$24 per pill."

Defendants Testa and Kruger are alleged to have been his main suppliers.

Hack, 37, allegedly stored Gotti’s drug proceeds and records of his narcotics transactions. He also allegedly arranged some drug transactions. 

The other defendants, save for Hack, are charged with assisting Gotti in facilitating the selling of diverted prescription drugs to an undercover officer or directly to other customers.

Yearlong Probe

The long-term investigation used "various investigative techniques, including physical surveillance, undercover buy operations and the court-authorized monitoring of telephone conversations and the installation of a listening device on an Infiniti G35 sedan when it was allegedly used by the defendant Gotti," said the Queens DA's press release (PDF). 

Undercover officers allegedly purchased $46,080 worth of Oxycodone, an opioid pain medication, from Gotti during 11 undercover buys between April 22, 2016, and July 28, 2016. 

Ten of those buys were allegedly recorded via video and audio surveillance. 

Six court-authorized search warrants were executed today as well. Locations listed included Rebel Ink Tattoo Parlor, "which Gotti is alleged to be a business partner," on Crossbay Boulevard. 

Gotti’s  residence and two vehicles he reportedly used also were searched, among other locations.

Police reportedly seized around $240,000 in cash, more than 850 Oxycodone and Xanax pills, plus drug ledgers and other records.

Intercepted Conversations

In one intercepted conversation, law enforcement alleges that Gotti discussed his Oxycodone trafficking business in great detail, allegedly stating that he sold more than 4,200 pills every month and that he generated around $100,000 in monthly drug sales.

He allegedly pegged his Oxycodone trafficking ring as a $1.6 million business.

Gotti also allegedly was recorded saying he stored his drug trafficking records and proceeds at an associate’s residence, the press release noted.

The associate was Hack, who allegedly was taped acknowledging that he stored $200,000 of Gotti's drug proceeds in his apartment and permitted Gotti to access the money, presumably at will. 

Queens District Attorney Brown said, “The drug in which the defendants are alleged to have primarily trafficked – Oxycodone – is especially popular with club patrons despite the fact that it poses serious health risks. In recent months, we have seen a significant rise in the use and abuse of prescription painkillers."

Commissioner Bratton said, “As alleged, John Gotti and the other defendants peddled prescription painkillers from Howard Beach to Ozone Park, contributing to the rampant supply of these potent drugs."

The seven main defendants – John Gotti, Justin Testa, Shaine Hack, Steve Kruger, Edward Holohan, Michael Farduchi and Melissa Erul – are variously charged with first, second- and third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree money laundering. 

Defendants Gotti, Kruger and Testa are additionally charged with operating as major traffickers.

The defendants are expected to be arraigned later today in Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, Gotti, Kruger and Testa each face up to 25 years to life in prison, Hack faces up to 15 years in prison and the rest around 10 years.

Two remaining defendants – Michael Farduchi, 24, and Melissa Erul, 23 – are charged with selling Oxycodone for Gotti.

No Garden Variety Traffic Stop

When John Gotti was stopped by police on June 30, 2016, in Howard Beach, the ridiculously sounding cited offense of driving a 2009 Jeep with "excessively dark window tints" was a cover story for much larger allegations.

Police seized the following from the vehicle: a Gucci bag containing over 200 Oxycodone pills, a bottle of steroids, Xanax and methadone pills, and marijuana.

And around $8,000 in cash.

"An examination of this money allegedly showed that over $7,000 was money that had been given to Gotti by an undercover officer to pay for Oxycodone pills purchased during undercover buy operations," the press release stated.