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Staten Island Barbershop Sold Drugs and Guns, DA Says

By Nicholas Rizzi | October 17, 2013 5:32pm
 Three workers at a Great Kills barbershop were arrested this week for selling drugs and guns out of the shop.
Staten Island Barbershop Gun and Drug Trafficking
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GREAT KILLS — Authorities clipped a Staten Island barbershop that was selling more than just fades, prosecutors said Thursday.

The owner of the Beyond Styles barbershop, at 12 Giffords Lane in Great Kills, along with two workers, sold Uzis and pills from inside the shop and one of their homes, District Attorney Dan Donovan announced.

"What took place there was beyond the pale," Donovan said. "We live in the safest borough and the safest city in America, and it has just become that much safer with the arrest of these individuals."

The owner of the shop, Anthony Lagala Jr., 26, was arrested along with workers Adam Paone, 29, and Marat Ayzenberg, 30, for selling Oxycodone, cocaine and other drugs from the shop, Donovan said.

Investigators purchased four guns from the trio, including one inside the barbershop, plus 398 Oxycodone pills and 10 envelopes of cocaine, some wrapped in receipts from the store.

Brain Crowell, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said investigators believed the trio mostly sold Oxycodone, and were moving 10,000 pills weekly.

"These cases are a priority for us," Crowell said. "It's what's killing the most people in New York City, especially in Staten Island."

They also allegedly sold to investigators outside the shop, including a drug sale in the parking lot of the South Shore YMCA and inside Paone's Knox Street apartment, where investigators bought an Israeli-made, 9mm Uzi for $2,500, Donovan said.

"This is a very dangerous gun," he said. "When we brought it to the ballistics lab many of the technicians wanted to shoot it because they're rare to be found here."

Police and the DEA worked for 10 months on the case, which they dubbed "Operation Buzz Cut," and arrested the three early Tuesday morning.

Charges against them include weapons possession and sales and drug possession and sales, Donovan said.

If convicted, Lagala faces a maximum of 88 years in prison, Paone 47 years and Ayzenberg 21 years.

During police searches, Paone's brother, Thoman Paone, was also arrested for preventing DEA agents from entering the apartment. Sal Lagala was arrested for drug possession, the DA said.

Lawyers for Lagala, Paone and Ayzenberg did not immediately return calls for comment.