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Pizza shop owner denies role in drug case

Francesco Miceli, 50, of Rockville Centre, is led

Francesco Miceli, 50, of Rockville Centre, is led out of First Precinct for arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court. (May 16, 2012) Credit: James Carbone

An owner of a West Babylon pizzeria has been charged with selling prescription painkillers out of his restaurant while customers dined.

In court, Assistant District Attorney James O'Rourke IV described Francesco Miceli, of Miceli Brothers Pizzeria, as a "purveyor of pizza and pills." Judge James McDonaugh held Miceli, who pleaded not guilty, on $40,000 bail. Wednesday night, he posted bail and was released.

Miceli, 50, of 50 Smith St., Rockville Centre, was the focus of a three-month-long investigation into the sale of oxycodone hydrochloride pills out of the pizza shop at 1030 Little East Neck Rd., police said.

His lawyer, Carmelo Garufi of Garden City said his client is a family man, a father of two.

"He maintains his innocence," Garufi said. "Mr. Miceli has no criminal record whatsoever. He has the support of his family, and once again, please wait for the facts to come out."

First Precinct Det. Lt. Robert Edwards said police had received complaints about drugs being sold at the restaurant. He said drug deals were taking place during business hours.

According to court documents, Miceli sold oxycodone pills to an undercover agent Feb. 22 and six more times, including a transaction May 8.

Police said Miceli's alleged "side business" ended Tuesday night when investigators arrived with a search warrant and arrested him as customers ate dinner.

During the search, police recovered from 100 to 150 oxycodone pills that Miceli had on him, according to Edwards and court documents.

Miceli pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance at his arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip.

Miceli is also accused of "unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures" containing oxycodone that were recovered during the restaurant search.

Wednesday afternoon, his son Matthew Miceli, 19, was at the restaurant fielding numerous phone calls from concerned customers and residents telling him to shut the business down.

"People are quick to judge," he said of his father's charges. "Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

"What am I going to do? Shut the store down? Let the courts deal with their problems. I'm gonna keep it going."

With Bill Mason

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