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Drug Trafficking Trial For Santucci, Chickos Postponed



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HARTFORD — Jury selection in the federal drug trafficking trial of a former Newtown police sergeant and a former Newtown emergency communications dispatcher has been postponed from October 13 to January 12.

Thomas Carson, spokesman for the US Attorney for Connecticut, said September 30 that on September 23 the defendants in the case attended a court conference to discuss the status of their cases.

Among the 11 defendants are Steven Santucci, 38, of Waterbury, a former Newtown police sergeant, and Jason Chickos, 46, of Bridgeport, who formerly worked as a Newtown emergency communications dispatcher. Both Mr Santucci and Mr Chickos resigned from their jobs following their arrests by federal authorities in late April. Federal officials allege that Mr Santucci headed the drug ring.

Mr Santucci and Mr Chickos are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids. That offense carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

An indictment also charges Mr Santucci with six separate counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of anabolic steroids. That offense carries the same penalties.

Additionally, the indictment charges Mr Santucci with conspiracy to launder money. That offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

Both Mr Santucci and Mr Chickos are free on bond. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges and are awaiting trial.

There had been a total of 12 defendants in the drug trafficking case, but on September 14, defendant Steven Fernandes, 54, of Southington, died at Branford Hospice, according to his obituary.

All defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty to the various criminal charges pending against them.

Mr Carson said defendant Michael Mase, 32, of Sherman, and defendant Mark Bertanza, 33, of  Shelton are scheduled for court appearances next week at which they are expected to change their pleas to the charges pending against them.

During the course of the drug trafficking investigation, law enforcement officers seized hundreds of vials of steroids, approximately 600 grams of raw testosterone powder, more than 1,000 oxycodone pills, approximately 350 grams of powder cocaine, and four long guns.

“The [drug] investigation began with an anonymous letter that described the steroid manufacture and distribution of a drug trafficking organization, the head of which was Newtown Police Department Sergeant Steven Santucci…of Waterbury. The letter was accompanied by a sample of Santucci’s steroids,” according to a court affidavit, which was part of the criminal complaint that lead to the arrests of Mr Santucci and Mr Chickos.

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