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Second Man Charged in Scheme to Mail Marijuana


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When police went to Thomas R. Santopietro Jr.'s apartment to question him about bricks of marijuana he allegedly mailed to himself, they found an empty Fed-Ex box on his porch and a crumpled wrapper with a pungent odor.

The ease of finding such evidence aside, it wasn't a surprising discovery. By that time investigators say they already knew about Santopietro's rendezvous in December near the Mexican border, a road trip that set the stage for his arrest here Jan. 22.

Santopietro, 33, was the second person charged in a failed scheme that police say had he and Paul Falcetti ship roughly 50 pounds of marijuana to two Torrington residences -- Santopietro's home at 189 Berry St. and Falcetti's at 47 Workman Ave.

Free on $100,000 bond, Santopietro, arrested on a warrant nearly a month after his alleged co-conspirator, is scheduled to face similar charges Monday in Bantam Superior Court.

According to court documents, a first-floor resident at the multi-family house where Falcetti lives fouled up the interstate trafficking game by opening a package containing bricks totaling 20 pounds of marijuana bound for the second floor.

Police searched Falcetti's apartment and found packing similar to what they later discovered at Santopietro's residence. Falcetti told investigators Santopietro concocted the plan to drive to El Paso to buy the drugs.

Santopietro had a connection in California who knew someone in Texas who would drive the drugs from Mexico into the United States, Falcetti told police.

Police said Falcetti, 24, griped that Santopietro got his package, but that he didn't receive his and got locked up for it.

Investigators interviewed another man who said he went on the road trip but had no idea what Falcetti and Santopietro were doing.

Santopietro faces conspiracy charges of possessing more than 1 kilogram of marijuana with intent to sell.

Last month, Falcetti's case was transferred to Litchfield Superior Court and is pending.

Source: Republican-American
Copyright: 2007 Republican-American
Contact: "The Waterbury Connecticut Republican American Newspaper"
Website: "The Waterbury Connecticut Republican American Newspaper"
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