Sie sind auf Seite 1von 10

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, :


:
Plaintiff, :
:
v. : Civil No.
:
ONE PARCEL OF PROPERTY :
LOCATED 72 ROOT AVENUE, :
ANSONIA, CONNECTICUT, :
WITH ALL APPURTENANCES AND :
IMPROVEMENTS THEREON, :
:
Defendant. : December 3, 2008
:
[CLAIMANT: JOSEPH CASSETTI]

VERIFIED COMPLAINT OF FORFEITURE

Now comes Plaintiff, United States of America, by and through its attorneys, Nora R.

Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David X. Sullivan,

Assistant United States Attorney, and respectfully states that:

1. This is a civil action in rem brought to enforce the provision of 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7),

for the forfeiture of real property which was used or intended to be used in any manner or part to

commit or to facilitate the commission of a violation of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C.

§§ 801 et seq.

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter by virtue of 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and § 1355.

3. Venue in the District of Connecticut is appropriate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1355 and

§ 1395.

4. The Defendant is one parcel of property located at 72 Root Avenue in Ansonia,

Connecticut, with all appurtenances and improvements thereon (“Defendant Property”), more
particularly described in Exhibit A, which is attached hereto and fully incorporated herein by

reference.

5. The United States does not request authority from the Court to seize the Defendant

Property at this time. The United States will, as provided by 18 U.S.C. §§ 985(b)(1) and (c)(1):

(a) post notice of this action and a copy of the Complaint on the Defendant Property;

(b) serve notice of this action on the record owner of the Defendant Property, and any

other person or entity who may claim an interest in the Defendant Property, along

with a copy of this Verified Complaint of Forfeiture;

(c) execute a writ of entry for the purposes of conducting an inspection and inventory

of the property; and

(d) record a lis pendens on the Ansonia Land Records of the Defendant Property’s

status as a defendant in this in rem action.

6. The United States will also, as provided by 19 U.S.C. § 1606, appraise the

Defendant Property when it executes the Writ of Entry.

7. The Defendant Property was acquired by Joseph Cassetti from Lillian Cassetti by

Quit Claim Deed, dated November 6, 1990, and recorded at Volume 246, Page 776 of the

Ansonia Land Records.

8. The appraised value of the Defendant property is approximately $262,400.

BACKGROUND OF INVESTIGATION

9. On November 19, 2008, law enforcement received information from Mark Jones

(“Jones”), a second floor resident of 72 Root Avenue, Ansonia, Connecticut (the “Defendant

Property”). Jones was concerned about the activities of his landlord Joseph Cassetti (“Cassetti”)

2
who lived on the first floor of the Defendant Property. Jones told law enforcement that in August

of 2008, Cassetti approached Jones and asked him if he was using the attic space of the

Defendant Property. Jones told Cassetti that he used a bedroom in his apartment for storage and

did not need to use the attic. Cassetti told Jones that he was going to build an apartment in the

attic space for his son and Cassetti asked Jones to not tell anyone about his plans as it would be

an illegal apartment. Cassetti asked Jones if he could use two electric outlets in Jones’ apartment

to supply electricity for the attic unit. Jones allowed Cassetti to do this as Cassetti promised to

pay for the electrical usage from the two outlets.

10. Jones told law enforcement that over the following two months, he noticed

numerous things that gave him concern. Jones said there were continuous, loud noises coming

from the attic, water could be heard running there, and that Jones began to smell strong odors of

marijuana when he walked into the first floor entrance to his apartment. Jones also noticed that

he had not received an electricity bill since Cassetti asked him about using Jones’ two outlets for

the attic. Jones learned that Cassetti had been removing the bill from Jones’ mail and paying it.

On one occasion when Jones got the electricity bill before Cassetti, he discovered that the bill

was for over $900.

11. During this same time period, Jones noticed Cassetti and two other males going

into the attic area of the Defendant Property on numerous occasions. Jones told law enforcement

that he thought the two unknown males were residents of 63 Root Avenue, a multi-family

residence also owned by Cassetti, because he saw them enter and leave that residence several

times.

3
12. On November 19, 2008, law enforcement officers traveled to the Defendant

Property to verify the information Jones had given them. Upon entering Jones’ apartment,

officers heard loud humming and vibrating noises coming from the attic area. They also heard

the sound of running water coming from the attic. At this time, Jones told law enforcement that

four days earlier (November 15, 2008), he heard a conversation coming from the attic. He heard

people talking about how strong the stalks were and how they resembled bamboo. Jones also

heard someone say that the leaves were large and looked like “Acapulco Gold” and another

individual commented that the plants looked like “Northern Lights.” Both Acapulco Gold and

Northern Lights are known types of marijuana.

13. Law enforcement subpoenaed the records of the United Illuminating Company for

the Defendant Property and found that invoices for the second floor of the Defendant Property in

the name of Mark Jones showed usage in the two months preceding Jones’ conversation with

Cassetti to be approximately 240 kilowatt hours. Usage for the period ending August 8, 2008

was 769 kilowatt hours. Usage for the period ending September 17, 2008 was 1,742 kilowatt

hours. Usage for the period ending October 19, 2008 was 2,374 kilowatt hours, and usage for the

period ending November 17, 2008 was 4,009 kilowatt hours.

14. Records for the first floor of the Defendant Property, in the name of Joyce Cassetti,

showed electricity usage for the four month period starting on May 19, 2008 to September 17,

2008, to average 777 kilowatt hours. Usage for the period of October 19, 2008 was 1,105

kilowatt hours, and usage for the period ending November 17, 2008 was 2,004 kilowatt hours.

15. Law enforcement consulted with a Meter Security Manager at United Illuminating

and was told that these levels of kilowatt hours are abnormally high. Abnormally high usage of

4
electricity is common with indoor marijuana cultivation as ultraviolet lights, high intensity grow

lights, fans, electrical meters, ballasts, and water pumps are often used.

16. On November 21, 2008, law enforcement executed two State of Connecticut Search

and Seizure Warrants on the Defendant Property and 63 Root Avenue, Ansonia, Connecticut.

Law enforcement entered the Defendant Property and observed three individuals exiting the attic

area of the Defendant Property. These individuals were detained by law enforcement and

identified as Joseph Cassetti, Cheyne Mazza, and Paul Mazza. A search of the attic at the

Defendant Property that these three individuals were discovered leaving revealed the following:

656 marijuana plants; 3 umbrella grow lights; 2 sun system grow lights; 6 sunlight power

supplies; a Westinghouse dehumidifier; black garbage can with 2 hoses and a pump; 157 assorted

planting pots; 2 fans; 5 mylar reflective shields; 3 grow don mini growing blocks; and one glass

bong.

17. While searching Joseph Cassetti’s first floor apartment, law enforcement

discovered the following: one AK 47 with bayonet and three magazines with 30 rounds of

ammunition; a .58 Dixie Gun Flint Rifle; Webley Revolver; a Colt six shot revolver; a Barnett

Crossbow; 2 High Times magazines; and a Weed World magazine.

18. A search of the basement of the Defendant Property revealed the following: 16

marijuana plants; milk carton with various growing supplies; 3 umbrella grow lights; 2

humidifiers; 4 foil panel reflectors; and one fan.

19. Joseph Cassetti was arrested and charged with violations of Connecticut General

Statutes: 21a-246(a), Cultivation of Marijuana; 21a-279(b), Possession of marijuana greater than

four ounces; 21a-277(b), Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell; 21a-279(d), Possession of

5
Marijuana with in 1500 feet of a school; 21a-278a(b), Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

within 1500 feet of a school; 21a-267(a), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; 21a-277(c),

Operating a Drug Factory; and 53a-212, Theft of a Firearm.

20. Cheyne Mazza was arrested and charged with violations of Connecticut General

Statutes: 21a-246(a), Cultivation of Marijuana; 21a-279(b), Possession of marijuana greater than

four ounces; 21a-277(b), Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell; 21a-279(d), Possession of

Marijuana with in 1500 feet of a school; 21a-278a(b), Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

within 1500 feet of a school; 21a-267(a), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and 21a-277(c),

Operating a Drug Factory.

21. Paul Mazza was arrested and charged with violations of Connecticut General

Statutes: 21a-246(a), Cultivation of Marijuana; 21a-279(b), Possession of marijuana greater than

four ounces; 21a-277(b), Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell; 21a-279(d), Possession of

Marijuana with in 1500 feet of a school; 21a-278a(b), Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell

within 1500 feet of a school; 21a-267(a), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and 21a-277(c),

Operating a Drug Factory

CONCLUSION

22. The Defendant, one parcel of property located at 72 Root Avenue, Ansonia,

Connecticut, with all appurtenances and improvements thereon, is real property which was used

or intended to be used in any manner or part to commit or to facilitate the commission of a

violation of the Controlled Substances Act in violation of 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., and is therefore

subject to forfeiture to the United States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7).

6
WHEREFORE, the United States of America respectfully asserts that there is probable

cause to believe that the Defendant Property is forfeitable to the United States pursuant to 21

U.S.C. § 881(a)(7); and requests,

(a) that pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 985(b)(2), and 18 U.S.C. § 983(j), which permits the

Court to “take any action to . . . preserve the availability of the property subject to civil

forfeiture,” the Court issue the proposed Writ of Entry attached to this Verified Complaint of

Forfeiture authorizing the United States Marshals Service, or its delegate, to enter the Defendant

Property, including any structures, on one or more occasions during the pendency of this in rem

forfeiture action:

(1) for the purpose of conducting an inspection and inventory and appraisal of the

Defendant Property, which inspection and inventory and appraisal may include

still and video photography;

(2) to be accompanied on any such occasion by any appraiser(s) selected by it to

appraise the condition and value of the Defendant Property pursuant to 19 U.S.C.

§ 1606;

(3) to be accompanied on any such occasion by any government or contract personnel

selected by it for the purpose of conducting an inventory of the Defendant

Property; and

(4) to be accompanied on any such occasion by any federal, state, or local law

enforcement officers selected by it to ensure the safety of any person acting under

the Writ of Entry;

7
(b) that the Court decree that the forfeiture of the Defendant, one parcel of property

located at 72 Root Avenue, Ansonia, Connecticut, with all appurtenances and improvements

thereon, to the United States under 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(7) is confirmed, enforced, and ordered;

(c) that the Court thereafter order that the United States Marshal, or his delegate, dispose

of the Defendant property as provided by law; and

(d) that the Court award Plaintiff United States all other relief to which it is entitled,

including the costs of this action.

Respectfully submitted,

NORA R. DANNEHY
ACTING UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

______/s/_____________________
JOHN B. HUGHES
CHIEF, CIVIL DIVISION
ASSISTANT U. S. ATTORNEY

________/s/___________________
DAVID X. SULLIVAN
ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY
P.O. BOX 1824
NEW HAVEN, CT 06508
(203) 821-3700
FEDERAL BAR # ct03793

8
DECLARATION

I am a Special Agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department

of Justice, and the agent assigned the responsibility for this case.

I have read the contents of the foregoing Verified Complaint of Forfeiture and the

statements contained therein are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on this ____ day of December, 2008.

/s/
JON A. RUBINSTEIN
SPECIAL AGENT
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
EXHIBIT A

That certain piece or parcel of land with all buildings, improvements, and other
appurtenances thereto situated in the City of Ansonia, County of New Haven, State of
Connecticut, bounded and described as follows:

Northerly: -by land now or formerly of Anthony Gagliardi, one hundred (100) feet, more or
less;

Easterly: -by land of John Klabonski and Micheline Klabonski one hundred six (106) feet,
more or less;

Southerly: -by land formerly of Anthony Roslon, now of Edward Kosakowski and Regina
Kosakowski, one hundred (100) feet, more or less;

Westerly: -by Root Avenue, one hundred and six (106) feet, more or less.