Chocolate, vanilla - or oxycodone?
A $1 million-a-year pill-pushing ring used a Lickety Split ice cream truck to dish out drugs on Staten Island, prosecutors said Thursday.
Thirty-one people were charged with helping to distribute 42,755 tablets of oxycodone pain tablets, the generic form of the opiate Oxycontin.
The ring bought the pills with the help of a crooked medical office manager for a Manhattan orthopedic surgeon, special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
Nancy Wilkins, 40, of Brooklyn, is accused of providing the ring with blank prescription forms, which were then forged.
A network of runners -- some addicts -- filled the prescriptions in exchange for cash or drugs at nearly two dozen pharmacies, mostly mom-and-pop shops in Staten Island, authorities said.
The meds were sold to adults several ways - but most often for $20 a pill from an ice cream truck, prosecutors said.
The not-so-sweet scheme was the brainchild of Louis Scala, 29, of Staten Island, and Joseph Zaffuto, 39, authorities said.
Scala was released on $15,000 bail Wednesday. Zaffuto and Wilkins are in custody. They could each face up to eight years in prison.
"This ring was operating in the safest police precinct in New York City," said Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan.
"We're equating this to the beginning of an epidemic similar to when crack was first introduced. "