An Elmhurst man pleaded guilty in federal court in Central Islip Wednesday to operating a stash house and laboratory in Mastic where he produced the illegal hallucinogen Ecstasy, as well as marijuana.
Joseph Guida, 44, an electrician with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, admitted to operating the stash house in a residential neighborhood for five years.
“Guida turned a house in a residential neighborhood into a drug factory, with total disregard for the danger posed to his neighbors by the volatile chemicals used to manufacture Ecstasy,” Eastern District United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. “Today’s guilty plea is the result of swift action taken by this office, working closely with our law enforcement partners, to safely shut down the defendant’s illegal drug operation.”
Ecstasy — also known by the chemical shorthand, MDMA, and a number of street nicknames, including “Molly” — was initially popular at raves before spreading to the wider community.
Federal agents as well as state and local police were so concerned about the potential dangers of the chemicals involved in the production of Ecstasy that they sealed off the block where the stash house was located. Some investigators wore hazmat suits during a December 2018 raid.
In his plea before U.S. District Judge Joan Azrack, Guida admitted using the stash house to produce the drug from 2013 to 2018. Guida said he manufactured the Ecstasy “for my own personal use,” and both used and sold the marijuana. Guida also said he was being treated for addiction to methamphetamines.
Investigators found enough chemicals used in the manufacture of Ecstasy to produce a kilo, along with more than a kilo of processed marijuana and 36 marijuana plants, said Eastern District Assistant United States Attorney Bradley King.
The investigation into Guida began in 2013 when U.S. Customs agents intercepted a package containing a chemical used in the manufacture of Ecstasy that was mailed from China to his Elmhurst apartment, officials said.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Guida faces between 70 to 86 months in prison.
Guida’s attorney, federal public defender Randi Chavis, declined to comment.