Three guys were busted on heroin-dealing charges on Staten Island Wednesday, law enforcement sources said. This might not be that newsworthy – except for the fact that one of the men – Frank Scorsese, 39 – is related to Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese.
Martin Scorsese is best known for his critically-acclaimed works, such as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and most recently The Wolf of Wall Street. He won an Academy Award for his direction of The Departed in 2006.
The filmmaker’s publicist did not immediately return a request for comment from the director, who is now working on a documentary about Bill Clinton.
Frank Scorsese is the acclaimed filmmaker’s nephew; his father, also named Frank is the brother of Martin Scorsese.
The nephew had sold $200 worth of heroin to an undercover cop on three separate occasions in April. According to a criminal complaint, he was charged after the undercover made the third buy this past week.
When he’s not dealing heroin, Scorsese works at an auto body shop and was busted along with the shop’s owners, John Santillo, 55, and his wife Lori Santillo, 57. Apparently, the three had a side business.
According to the criminal complaint, officers executed a search warrant at the Santillos’ home in Staten Island Wednesday morning and made quite a bust. They seized 272 packets of heroin, five shotguns, a .22 caliber pistol, and a 9 mm pistol and a rifle.
Scorsese was charged with criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance, while the Santillos received weapons charges in addition to drug charges.
Both Scorsese’s lawyer and John Santillo’s lawyer threw each other’s clients under the bus during their arraignment.
“My client is not a felon. The primary person involved here is the co-defendant, not Mr. Scorsese. Scorsese does not own the business,” said lawyer John Poppe.
Kevin Byrne, Santillo’s attorney, countered saying, “Mr. Scorsese was the one actively involved in the sale to undercover agents. Mr. Santillo has prior convictions but they are from 30 years ago.” Public records show that Scorsese has a history of financial troubles, including tax liens and several civil judgments against him for credit card and personal debts.
When reached by phone, his father Frank, 78, of Brick, NJ, said “I don’t need that. Goodbye.”
Mrs. Santillo’s lawyer, Kathleen Wallace, said her client is a retired librarian who was unaware of the weapons.
“The weapons were hidden in a closet behind a hidden panel in a secret compartment. I know the seriousness if this charge but my client is a retired librarian and has no criminal record. She has no knowledge of any of these things,” Wallace said.
All three pleaded not guilty during the court proceeding in Staten Island Criminal Court Thursday.
Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. ordered Scorsese held on $50,000 bond or $20,000 cash bail.
John Santillo was held on $75,000 bond or $50,000 bail, while his wife, Lori Santillo was held on $7,500 bail or $10,000 bond.
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