David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Haven, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a 15-count indictment charging Frank N. Potolicchio, 62, of Stamford; Elliot Chiapetta, 60, of Stamford, Robert Atkinson, a.k.a. “Bucket,” 30, of Stamford; and Scott Veltri, 32, of New York City, with various federal narcotics distribution and firearms offenses stemming from their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking ring that was responsible for the distribution of cocaine in and around Stamford. In a related indictment, Thomas Uva, III, 56, of Stamford, is charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Both indictments were returned on June 7, and all five defendants were arrested today.
The indictment and today’s arrests are the culmination of a joint investigation conducted by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force and the Stamford Police Department. The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases, and physical surveillance. Prior to today’s arrests, law enforcement officers executed multiple search warrants, and seized cocaine and one firearm from the defendants.
Potolicchio, Chiapetta, Atkinson, and Veltri are each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years. Potolicchio, Chiapetta, and Atkinson are also charged with distribution and/or possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. In addition, Potolicchio is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, to be served consecutively. UVA is charged with possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that the charges are not evidence of guilt. The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force and the Stamford Police Department. The task force is composed of members of the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Stamford Police Department, the Bridgeport Police Department, and the Connecticut State Police.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hal Chen.