A drug kingpin from Lynn, Mass. who flooded the North Shore area with fentanyl pills while washing proceeds at a New Hampshire casino, was sent to prison for more than 20 years Thursday.
His mother, who was also a regulator patron at the same gambling establishment, the Brook Casino in Seabrook, NH, was handed nine years by the federal judge in Boston.
Vincent “Fatz” Caruso, 29, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana, and other controlled substances. He also admitted to firearms, robbery, and money laundering offences.
Caruso’s operation had links to the Lil Crip and Tiny Rascal street gangs. He is also closely connected to a hip-hop outfit called Epic Nation the Label. Caruso was recently sentenced to 15 days in jail for breaking into a property to shoot a music video with the group.
On social media, he bragged about owning six pill presses, which allowed him to distribute Fentanyl disguised as Percocet pills, according to prosecutors.
One of these machines could produce around 15,000 pills an hour, which sold on the street for $10 to $23 each.
There were 1,895 opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2020, where a toxicology screen was also available. Ninety-two percent of these were linked to fentanyl.
Caruso made frequent trips to the Brook Casino with his mother, Laurie Caruso, 52, who was also a member of his large network of distributors and runners.
The duo was careful only to bet amounts below $10,000, the threshold at which a casino must report cash transactions to financial authorities, according to court documents. They favored accumulator bets featuring favorites, because these offered high returns on relatively low stakes when they came in.
Between February and June 2021, they placed 150 cash bets totaling more than $400,000 at the casino sportsbook, losing around $20,000. This converted $380,000 in dirty money into “legitimate” casino winnings.
“This family business has been shut down for good. Vincent Caruso was a prolific and violent drug trafficker who flooded North Shore communities with hundreds of thousands of deadly counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy in an official statement.
Caruso and his associates orchestrated numerous shootings and armed robberies using an arsenal of firearms – including machine guns – and then took to social media to brag about their incredibly destructive criminal conduct,” he added.
Levy said it was “even more appalling” that some of Caruso’s Instagram brags were posted while he was on pretrial release.
Caruso has prior arrests for firearms, home invasion, robbery, assault, and drug offenses.
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