Renowned Staten Island chef is unmasked as drug kingpin who operated 'like a modern day Fagin' to bully victims into 'servitude' and commit 'mind boggling' crimes

Ettore Mazzei, 61, was arrested in connection to a massive narcotics bustProsecutors said he used his business to run a drug ring in Staten IslandInvestigators connected his operation to several overdose deaths 

A prominent New York City chef and business owner, once honored for his involvement in the community, was arrested in a massive drug bust.

Ettore Mazzei, 61, owner of Chez Vous Catering and Edgewater Hall in Staten Island, was indicted on 61 counts including criminal sale of a controlled substance, grand larceny, identity theft and falsifying business records.

Mazzei and nearly 20 others were arrested on Wednesday during an extensive law enforcement raid of his business on Bay Street.

Prosecutors said the business man was the ring leader of an operation that made tens of thousands of dollars selling deadly narcotics.

'Like a modern-day Fagin, the character from Dickens' Great Expectations, Mazzei preyed on vulnerable people who suffered from addiction illness and oppressed them into servitude in his catering business, for housing and ultimately, for drug dealing,' Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon said.

Prominent chef Ettore Mazzei (center), 61, was arrested in a massive drug bust Wednesday

Prominent chef Ettore Mazzei (center), 61, was arrested in a massive drug bust Wednesday

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'The breadth of his criminal activity is truly mind-boggling. Mazzei built a labyrinth of crime including drug dealing, extortion, and fraud against numerous government programs including COVID-19 aid, housing support, food stamps, and other financial assistance.'

'He is a successful businessman for sure - a crooked, evil businessman,' McMahon said.

In January 2022, Mazzei was bestowed a leadership award from the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce for his contributions to the community.

Now he is accused of running an operation that sold 20 grams of heroin, 461 grams of cocaine and 140 suboxone strips to undercover officers over a 14-month period starting in March 2023, according to prosecutors.

Investigators connected drugs sold by Mazzei's crew to multiple overdose deaths on Staten Island.

Prosecutors said Mazzei (pictured) was the ring leader of an operation that made tens of thousands of dollars selling deadly narcotics

Prosecutors said Mazzei (pictured) was the ring leader of an operation that made tens of thousands of dollars selling deadly narcotics

He is accused of using his businesses (pictured) to run a drug operation that is connected to several overdose deaths

He is accused of using his businesses (pictured) to run a drug operation that is connected to several overdose deaths

Over 150 people died of overdoses in 2023 in Staten Island, adding to the more than 830 people that died of overdoses since 2016 in the borough, according to the district attorney's office.

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'Losing over 150 of our neighbors and loved ones to a fatal overdose just last year, Staten Islanders know all too well the devastating and deadly ramifications of the opioid and overdose crisis,' said McMahon.

'And yet, shameless poison purveyors like Ettore Mazzei and his associates continue to flood our streets with death-dealing and harmful narcotics, choosing to prioritize profit over the pain and suffering they leave in their wake.'

Video captured by NBC New York showed Mazzei and the others being rounded up by New York City Police officers.

The chef is accused using his position as a business owner to advance his drug operation.

Prosecutors said he would house several of his employees at his properties and pay them for their work in drugs

Prosecutors said he would house several of his employees at his properties and pay them for their work in drugs

Nearly 20 others were arrested on Wednesday during an extensive law enforcement raid of his business on Bay Street

His operation allegedly sold 20 grams of heroin, 461 grams of cocaine and 140 suboxone strips to undercover officers over a 14-month period starting in March 2023

His operation allegedly sold 20 grams of heroin, 461 grams of cocaine and 140 suboxone strips to undercover officers over a 14-month period starting in March 2023

Prosecutors said he would house several of his employees at his properties and pay them for their work in drugs.

'The defendants' alleged actions plagued neighborhoods in Staten Island by littering the streets with illegal narcotics that led to overdose deaths and endangered countless more New Yorkers,' said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban.

'These allegations are particularly galling given that the driving force behind this illicit drug operation – a local landlord, chef, and entrepreneur – was recently recognized as a pillar of the community by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce'

'Putting personal and financial gain above people's lives is the polar opposite of what New Yorkers expect and deserve from their leaders,' Caban said.

Mazzei's bail has been set at $3 million cash and $5 million bond. His attorney did not return DailyMail.com's request for comment at the time of publication.

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