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Crime & Cases September 26, 2013  RSS feed

Jail Mob Associate For Drug Peddling

Participated In Ozone Pk. Murder

A reputed associate of the Colombo crime family linked to the 1993 murder of a fellow mobster from Ozone Park was sentenced on Monday, Sept. 23, for his role in a scheme to fraudulently obtain and distribute prescription drugs, federal prosecutors announced.

Francis (a.k.a. BF) Guerra, 47, was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Sandra L. Townes to serve 14 years behind bars. Following a jury trial conducted in June and July of 2011, Guerra was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and Oxycontin—and one count of actually distributing those drugs—in 2010 and 2011.

In addition, he was convicted of four counts of wire fraud based on his fraudulently obtaining reimbursement for those drugs from his insurance provider.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch and George C. Venizelos, assistant director in-charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) New York Field Office.

During the sentencing proceeding, Townes found that, in addition to the crimes of conviction, the government proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had committed numerous additional crimes, including the 1992 murder of Michael Devine of Staten Island and the 1993 murder of Joseph Scopo of Ozone Park.

Devine was murdered because he had a relationship with the wife of Alphonse Persico, then the acting boss of the Colombo crime family and son of the official boss, Carmine Persico, Jr.

Scopo was murdered because he was the underboss of a faction of the Colombo crime family that sought to take control from the Persicos. By murdering Scopo, Guerra and his coconspirators won the “Colombo family war”—one of the most violent feuds in mafia history— for the Persico faction.

“Years ago, the defendant Guerra chose a life of crime, with murder as his criminal stock in trade. Organized crime has always been about money rather than honor, and recent years saw Guerra move into the equally deadly business of illegal trafficking in prescription drugs,” stated Lynch. “This sentence is a harsh warning to anyone considering introducing these addictive, deadly drugs into our community. This sentence also sends an important message to members and associates of organized crime. We will never stop investigating and prosecuting the murders and other violent crimes they commit, no matter how long ago they occurred, and we will hold those who commit such crimes accountable, regardless of how long they have avoided justice.”

“The illegal traffic in prescription drugs poses as grave a danger to society as trafficking in illicit drugs. Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of the offense,” Venezelos added. “The sentence also closes a chapter in the bloody Colombo war from 20 years ago. Responsibility for two murders has been laid at the feet of this defendant. There is no statute of limitations on the resolve of the FBI to see justice done.”

Lynch extended her appreciation to the FBI and the NYPD for their assistance.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri and Allon Lifshitz.