DEER PARK, NY — A Deer Park man pleaded guilty on Thursday, after he was charged in connection with the fatal overdose of a West Babylon man in March, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney.
Vito Fabrizio, 33, pleaded guilty in court to three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of second-degree, criminally using drug paraphernalia before the Honorable John Collins.
Frank Cairo was discovered by his live-in girlfriend in his bed, while attending a virtual Narcotics Anonymous meeting via Zoom, prosecutors said. At the scene, officers recovered two bags (later determined to contain fentanyl, and a heroin-fentanyl mixture), three hypodermic needles, and a cellular telephone belonging to the decedent.
A review of that cellular phone revealed that the previous day, on March 7, Frabizio had sold to Cairo the two packages of narcotics recovered by officers on the day of his death.
“This defendant exploited the addiction of the victim, who was trying to get clean, by selling himdeadly fentanyl, which resulted in that victim’s death,” said DA Tierney.
On March 9, Frabizio communicated with an undercover officer, directing the undercover officer to go to the Sayville Motor Lodge located on Sunrise Highway in Sayville. Once there, Frabizio sold one-eighth of an ounce of fentanyl and more than one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine to the undercover, prosecutors said.
During that purchase, the undercover officer observed additional quantities of what appeared to be narcotics inside the room. Police maintained surveillance on the two while a search warrant was obtained for the motel room.
Pursuant to that search warrant, Frabizio was arrested. Police recovered more than half an ounce of fentanyl, a quantity of cocaine, two digital scales and $3,839 in cash which included $520 in pre-recorded buy money from the undercover transaction.
Upon his arraignment, as the charges were not bail eligible under New York law, he was released on his own recognizance with the condition that he was placed on supervised release.
Authorities were awaiting toxicology results at the time, and Frabizio was not yet able to be charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance alleging the death of another.
“Under the Bail Reform laws passed in New York in 2019, we cannot seek bail for drug dealers, even for selling deadly substances such as fentanyl, until after a death occurs,” said Tierney. “Here, following the overdose death, Frabizio was arrested but had to be released because the charges were not bail eligible.”
Utilizing several newly issued telephones, Frabizioa, who was working with Joan Mangels, 40, of Amityville, contacted an undercover narcotics officer and again arranged to sell quantities of fentanyl and cocaine, prosecutors said.
The undercover officer communicated with both Frabizio and Mangels via text messages to make the arrangements and this time, the detective was directed to a different location in West Babylon.
Once at that location, Frabizio and the co-defendant, acting in concert with one another, allegedly sold more than one-eighth of an ounce of fentanyl, as well as a quantity of cocaine to the undercover in exchange for $600. They were arrested mid-transaction and charged with a host of new felony narcotics offenses, prosecutors said.
A search of the West Babylon apartment by police resulted in the seizure of one-eighth of an ounce of fentanyl, one plastic bag containing a quantity of cocaine, and 29 blue round tablets which also tested positive for fentanyl, a cellular telephone that was later discovered to be the same phone number used to communicate with the undercover officer, and a digital scale. An additional quantity of cocaine was found in Frabizio’s possession.
“We were only able to lock this defendant up due to the dogged work of the Suffolk County Police Department, who, working with our prosecutors, made an additional undercover drug purchases following the overdose death while the defendant was out on release from an earlier drug arrest,” said Tierney.