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Dozens charged for selling drugs from ice cream truck

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Authorities in New York have charged 31 people in a scheme trafficking $1 million worth of drugs using an ice cream truck.

clearpxlThe city's special prosecutor said a nine-month investigation unraveled a conspiracy between a Lickety Split truck driver and an employee at a Manhattan clinic.

Louis Scala, 29, and an associate, Joseph Zaffuto, 39, allegedly obtained fake prescriptions for oxycodone, a painkiller, from Nancy Wilkins, a manager at an orthopedic surgeon's office. Zaffuto was a patient of the surgeon and had met Wilkins during a visit at the clinic. 

Prosecutors say Wilkins stole prescription pads from the doctor and sold the blank sheets to Scala and Zaffuto, who both recruited family members and friends to have the prescriptions filled in small, independently-owned pharmacies.

The recruits were paid in cash or oxycodone. They brought back a total of 42, 755 tablets to Scala and Zaffuto, with each pill worth about $20, in a span of a year until June 2010.

Scala sold the tablets as he made his rounds on his ice cream truck. He allegedly stopped at pre-arranged blocks where, after selling ice cream to children, his customers would leave their cars and climb into his truck to finish the sale. 

"Most of the individuals recruited to fill bogus prescriptions were among society’s most vulnerable – young, financially desperate and addicted to oxycodone," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan. "To attract buyers, highly addictive drugs were often initially given out for free."  

The indictments against Scala and all those who particpated in the scheme includee conspiracy, criminal Possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell and other charges. 

Scala, who used his brother and fiancee as runners, was released on Thursday on $15,000 bail. Wilkins and Zaffuto are both detained,with bail set at $5,000 and $15,000, respectively

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