Young Professionals Indicted in “Yuppie Conspiracy” Cocaine Case
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A securities dealer, a record producer and a former pro football player are among the latest people implicated in a ring that distributed cocaine in 14 states, authorities said.
″It shows that a conspiracy like this is far-reaching, affects a lot of people and it includes people from all over the country,″ Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Williams Gabbrielli said Thursday.
Dubbed the ″Yuppie Conspiracy″ by prosecutors, authorities say the ring was started by Dr. Lawrence Lavin, 33, a suburban dentist who is serving a 42- year federal prison sentence and is one of 65 people convicted in the case.
The 26-count indictment returned Thursday raised the total of people indicted to 83, Ms. Gabrielli said.
The indictment names former pro football player Dennis J. Franks, 34; Andrew Mainardi III, 31, a former Philadelphia Stock Exchange securities dealer; and Nicholas Martinelli, 37, of Turnersville, N.J., a record producer at Watch Out Productions in Philadelphia.
Gabbrielli said Franks was charged with one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine between April 1981 and June 1983. She said the ring operated from 1978 to 1984.
Lavin was convicted of starting the ring while he was a dental student at the University of Pennsylvania. Prosecutors said the ring catered to young professionals and sold more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine in 14 states, including New England, Florida and Colorado.
Previous convictions have included two lawyers, five dentists, four stockbrokers, an airline pilot, a high school English teacher, an elementary school principal and a registered nurse, according to prosecutors.
Some of the defendants carried more than $1 million in cash at times to pay for cocaine in Flordia, the indictment said.
A native of McKeesport, Franks was signed by the Eagles as a free agent in 1976, team spokesman Ed Wisneski said. After being cut by the Eagles in 1978, Franks played the 1979 season with the Detroit Lions, Wisneski said.
Ms. Gabbrielli declined to comment on whether Franks was buying the cocaine and selling it to his former teammates.
Franks’ attorney, L. Michael Lee, declined comment.
″We expect that the majority of these people will be turning themselves in sometime in the near future,″ she said.
If convicted Franks and Mainardi face maximum sentences of 19 years in prison and a $55,000 fine. Martinelli could be fined $35,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison if convicted.