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The family that deals drugs together (allegedly) gets indicted together

The Carusos and Johnson

Fatz, his mom and Yo Pesci in a fighting stance (from the affidavit).

Federal officials today charged four people with involvement in a north-of-Boston drug ring, including alleged ringleader Vincent "Fatz" Caruso and his mom, Laurie Caruso, who does not have a street nickname.

They and two others were swept up in an ongoing federal probe called Operation Street Sweepah. Earlier this year, two Malden residents were charged after a part of the investigation dubbed "Operation Street Sweepah: Kings of Belaire" because of the couple's love of Belaire champagne.

The four people charged today were part of a related investigation dubbed "Operation Street Sweepah: Guns and Butter," the name of which was not explained in an FBI affidavit, but which may have been partly written in proper English because there are limits to the use of the Boston accent in federal investigations. The affidavit mentions additional organization members who were not charged today.

According to the FBI affidavit, the Caruso operation supplied drugs to at least three gangs north of Boston: the Tiny Raskals Gang, the Little Crip Gangsters and Epic Nation the Label, using a $60,000 device that could churn out 15,000 pills an hour. Caruso typically advertised his wares as Percocets, although the pills were actually pressed out of fentanyl, the affidavit states, adding he is also responsible for orchestrating "violent offenses such as armed robbery, witness intimidation, and assaults."

Some of the pills:

Pills

Caruso, also known as Big Boy, is a member of the Little Crip Gangsters, according to the affidavit.

Caruso, 27, was formally charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to use firearms during a drug-trafficking crime and conspiracy to possess a tableting machine to manufacture a controlled substance. Laurie Caruso and Nicole Benton were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money and Ernest Johnson was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to use firearms during a drug-trafficking crime.

CARUSO currently has an open fentanyl trafficking and firearm case indicted in Essex Superior Court resulting from a prior investigation by Massachusetts State Police in January 2020, and a second open case relating to a Danvers Police investigation in May 2018.

In 2019, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail for breaking into a Salem property to film a video, the affidavit notes.

Two months after being bailed in the Essex court case, the affidavit continues, Caruso served as the driver for two other guys who broke into an apartment and stole $20,000 in cash and jewelry.

Laurie Caruso, 51, also faces charges in the Essex Superior Court case, which stems from a raid of three Saugus townhouses controlled by the Caruso operation, the affidavit states, adding the raids came after State Police or informants working for them made "multiple controlled purchases" of pills from Laurie Caruso.

Mom is

Believed to be employed full time in the distribution of controlled substances, specifically engaging in actual deliveries on behalf of the CARUSO DTO and frequently travelling to stash locations and CARUSO’s residence multiple times per day.

Nicole Benton, 45, played a similar role in the organization, according to the affidavit.

Ring member Ernest "Yo Pesci" Johnson, 33, has a long record of gun crimes and assault and battery, including a 2019 conviction for beating up a correctional officer. Although that crime has a ten-year maximum sentence, he got a year.

Johnson, the affidavit continues, has become something of a YouTube star, frequently posting videos about his and Fatz's exploits (he also used Facebook and Snapchat):

One particular video that launched JOHNSON’s internet celebrity was a live stream in which JOHNSON was shot at while in a vehicle. In short, JOHNSON has become a viral video star for his willingness to discuss crimes, firearms possession, drug trafficking and violent incidents. A hallmark of his videos is the use of “allegedly” following his admissions to crimes and violence.

Johnson with an alleged gun, from one of his videos, allegedly:

Johnson and Laurie Brooks at casino

With all the money pouring in , Fatz lived the high life; the affidavit reports on a private dinner Fatz and his boys had at Mastro's in the Seaport on March 3 of this year - which was chronicled in a video posted to YouTube:

During the video, CARUSO is featured prominently, wearing a large chain with his street name, "Fatz," encrusted with diamonds. During the beginning of the music video, CARUSO hands [an as yet unindicted gang member who goes by "Shizzy"] a diamond-encrusted red-faced Rolex watch. CARUSO and other attendees then commence to have a meal at what appears to be a private dinner.

Fatz owned an Audemars Piguet watch, fully encrusted with diamonds; just the watch alone goes for $10,000:

Fancy watch

To maintain some level of respectability, Caruso and the others figured out how to use a complex way of wagering at a New Hampshire casino to convert drug money into legit cash, the affidavit states. Brooks, his mom and Johnson would go up to the Brook, in Seabrook, and place "parlay" bets, typically of several thousand dollars apiece - but always well under the federal $10,000 reporting requirement - on the outcomes of several sporting events.

In order to win, all of the chosen teams must prevail. ... The benefit of a parlay is that there are much higher payoffs because you are betting upon multiple outcomes simultaneously and all of those chosen teams must win in order for the wager to pay off. The more teams you bet upon, the less of a chance to win, but the greater the payout if they do.

As the payouts are so high, the favored team parlay scheme offers the chance for immediate and lucrative returns in exchange for a relatively small investment of drug proceeds. In the event that the parlay bet is successful, the CARUSO DTO can show a purported legally-obtained source for a large amount of cash on hand. Furthermore, since the purpose of the laundering efforts is to show a purported source of ostensibly illegally-obtained cash on-hand that could not otherwise be transacted (instead of to win money), the CARUSO DTO need only break-even or at least not lose a large proportion of the cash in order for the laundering activity to be successful.

Yo Pesci and mom at the Brook:

Johnson and Laurie Brooks at casino

But it wasn't all fun and games in Fatzworld. The affidavit recounts a 2018 incident in which some guys tried to rob him:

According to police reports and other information, CARUSO was entering into an apartment unit controlled by the CARUSO DTO [drug-trafficking organization], when multiple individuals chased him into the residence. The living area for the CARUSO DTO controlled unit, was on the 2nd floor, and CARUSO ran up the stairs away from the assailants. CARUSO then ran into a bedroom and jumped off the 2nd floor balcony landing down onto the 1st floor balcony, which was associated with another unit. According to witness reports, CARUSO was in a state of terror and hid in that apartment with the first-floor resident, who was a neighbor. Police were called to the scene and conducted a protective sweep of the residence, and located a firearm in the CARUSO DTO controlled residence. A search warrant was obtained and: over $30,000 cash, a firearm, over 200 apparent oxycodone pills (appearing to be Percocet 30 mg that I believe are in fact pressed fentanyl pills), approximately 6 grams of crack cocaine, and approximately 8 pounds of marijuana were recovered. Drug ledgers, and paperwork belonging to CARUSO were also present in the premises. This address was identified to be the residence of CARUSO's sister, and mother, Laurie CARUSO.

Innocent, etc.

Complete affidavit (3.1M PDF).

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Comments

Admit it Adam, you had fun writing this one.

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Voting closed 67

I love this topic

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Voting closed 21

or the will to use a personal trainer. The droopy man-boobs, the ugly-ass watch, the awful ink! Dinner at Mastro's! The bald stupidity of this idiot and his sub-idiots, putting it all on social media. Oof.

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Voting closed 55

Can we grow up with the body shaming comments? Even if we go with the thinking that it's fine to insult drug dealers, other completely upstanding folks read these comments and get the message that there's something wrong with being fat, bald, etc. There are plenty of things you can say about these folks without stooping to making comments that apply to a lot of people's appearance.

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Voting closed 60

is not with their obesity per se (I'm not exactly svelte myself), but the fact that they posit themselves as badasses despite being in less than fighting trim.

However, I'll defend my use of "bald", which in this context means "open, undisguised." "Bald stupidity" is not a pejorative reference to any lack of hair. "Stupidity," surely pejorative, but I feel confident defending that one, and I don't care if it's insulting to other stupid people.

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Voting closed 35

These are simply gross people, irrespective of physical appearance.

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Voting closed 27

Not that I needed more evidence that avoiding seaport steakhouses is a good idea.

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I thought it was a color vision test. Whatever the taste, it actually serves as a ready cash equivalent.

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Voting closed 22

Yep. Brings a whole new meaning to White Trash.

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Voting closed 27

No more Fatz-shaming.

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Voting closed 42

It just goes too far.

Like the word “thug” or “mobster” or “gangster”. We watch the wire and see that guys like Stringer Bell aren’t “thugs” but probably a “mobster”, even though
The (maybe?) negative connotation of the word “thug” is associated with black men and not white men. Now it is racist if you want to call someone like 50 Cent a “thug”, but probably not the gentlemen in this case that Adam is discussing.

Just my opinion I guess but this new silencing of vocabulary isn’t based on any sort of science.

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Voting closed 20

One controls the conversation.

I had an issue with Richard Sherman being called a thug way back when, if only because his behavior was best called boorish. I still have no problem with hockey players (including several Bruins) being called thugs because they engage in thuggish behavior.

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Voting closed 19

Calling Richard Sherman a thug is racist. Calling Bruins “thugs” is unusual but fine I guess. “Goon” is probably the more common term for a hockey fighter who fights instead of skates. Thugs in my mind are black men who use violence against other people for criminal gain. Is that racist? Should I delete that thought from my brain?

I mean, Latino or Russian cartel members who slice the throats of kids and send the heads to family members are scum, but thugs wouldn’t be the word I would use to describe them…..

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Voting closed 18

I take it I am quite a bit older than you because we have a serious difference of perception. Until it was made clear to me some time ago now that the word "thug" has morphed in meaning in recent years to be a derogatory word for black men, it was always, in my aged Boomer mind, a term for somebody like Whitey Bulger. There was a time he was considered a "thug". You know, a brutish organized crime figure. Those were "thugs". I did not associate the word particularly with black men, nor did I think it was a racist slur. But words change in meaning. Especially in this day and age. What would be interesting is if someone could pinpoint the exact time, or period of time, when it took on it's current connotation.

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Voting closed 26

I mean in 1994 2Pac, Stretch and Big Skye (RIP as all are deceased) formed the group "Thug Life" , and the Anthology "Tupac: A Thug Life" was released in 2005.

Tupac (and other hip hop artists) frequently used the term to describe themselves, or a lifestyle associated with them.

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Voting closed 17

But to your example at the end, I would say that the higher ups who order the beheadings wouldn’t get the thug tag, but the people who carry out the orders would be thugs.

As far as the supposed racist connotation of the phrase “thug,” that’s just been thrown onto the concept, and Lord knows that certain subgroups did seem to adopt the phrase (see “thug life”) which allowed for a racist subtext to seep in. That said, thuggish behaviors 30 or 40 or 80 years ago are thuggish behaviors today. Richard Sherman? Hardly.

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Voting closed 16

Are not thugs. Calling them that is racist. Calling them goons? Not so much?

Also not sure if some low level cartel killer is a thug? Not even sure if they would use that term in Mexico, even using the Spanish equivalent.

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Voting closed 18

Police were called to the scene and conducted a protective sweep of the residence,

Protective sweep? I wonder who called them.

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I know of Yo Pesci. Popular in the streets/Twitter/IG. Not surprised here.

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Absolute scum that have no place in society.

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“Laurie Caruso, who does not have a street name,…”

This just doesn’t seem fair.

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Voting closed 43

Momma Bear?

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Voting closed 26

How about MILF? Mother Is Lowlife Felon.

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Voting closed 25

25 pages of the affidavit was dedicated just to their own social media posts. Not the brightest bunch. But the casino parlay scheme to launder money into clean cash was interesting.

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Voting closed 23

That guy needs to talk to Kramer and Frank Costanza

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Voting closed 25

Eeka says the bro is too ethnic.

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Voting closed 15

with a mom is on the town selectboard and also the one that threw a party last spring in spite of covid lockdown?

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Voting closed 19

https://www.universalhub.com/2021/two-lovebirds-taste-champagne-and-love...

Kids, don't move to the northern suburbs - full of crime. Swirly, a secret drug kingpin? Investigate?

to be clear, it was her AUNT on the council (Jadeanne, please don't hassle us again)

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Voting closed 17

Caruso's a common surname.

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Voting closed 19

The money laundering method seems pretty clever. You lose almost all the bets, and you don't have to account for that money. You just have to account for that one packet you put on the winning bet.

I wonder how many bets they placed under that camera.

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Voting closed 27

We need a poll to give her one...

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Voting closed 22

Fatz Momino?

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Oxyqueen?

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Voting closed 32

Kudos to law enforcement. Unfortunately it seems it's impossible to get to the top level superpowers which supplies this shit to begin with. The roots of the tree just keep growing.

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Voting closed 18

"there are limits to the use of the Boston accent in federal investigations"

I love this!

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Voting closed 26

And that's why the Martin Sheen character absolutely needed to be killed in 'the Depahted'

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Voting closed 18