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United States v. Panebianco

decided: October 14, 1976.


Appeal from judgments entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Dudley B. Bonsal, Judge, following jury verdicts of conviction on narcotics and conspiracy charges.

Lumbard, Mansfield and Mulligan, Circuit Judges.

Author: Lumbard

LUMBARD, Circuit Judge:

James Panebianco, Patsy Anatala, Snider Blanchard, Renato Croce, Charles Brooks, Lawrence Iarossi, and Leonard Rizzo appeal from convictions and sentences entered on March 24, 1976 after a ten-day jury trial before Judge Bonsal in the Southern District.*fn1 They were convicted for a conspiracy to violate federal narcotics laws between 1968 and 1973 and for all of various substantive narcotics distribution offenses with which they were charged. Of seven other co-conspirators charged in the same indictment, three pled guilty prior to trial, three had their cases severed, and one is a fugitive.

Most of the appellants allege that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to find one unitary conspiracy. In addition, Iarossi contends that he withdrew from the conspiracy early in 1970, and he therefore claims protection from the statute of limitations and argues that his sentencing as a second narcotics offender under a statute not enacted until October 1970 was unconstitutionally retroactive. Rizzo challenges the admission of testimony that he had threatened the life of a government witness; he also disputes the finding of venue over the two substantive offenses of which he was convicted and asserts a variance between indictment and proof. Croce maintains that evidence used against him was uncovered in an unconstitutional search and seizure. Blanchard disputes the relevance of an address book entry admitted against him. A claim of juror bias is also made. Since Judge Bonsal's disposition of each of these matters was entirely proper, we affirm.

Three other members of the conspiracy named in the indictment testified for the government at trial: Mary Mobley, Anthony Manfredonia, and Thomas Murray. The most important witness was Manfredonia, a New York heroin dealer with whom the various other conspirators were involved as suppliers, customers, and fellow middlemen. During the first half of the conspiracy, Manfredonia's principal partner in crime was defendant Iarossi. In 1970, however, Manfredonia took a vacation from heroin dealing for roughly six months, and upon his return he took Joseph Barone as a business associate instead of Iarossi. With Barone, as with Iarossi, Manfredonia continued to rely on the same regular source of supply (Vincent Papa in Queens) and continued to sell to his original customers (Alvin Clark and defendant Blanchard), although new deliverymen and new customers were added at various times. Further details of the conspiracy will reveal themselves as we describe the government's case against each of the defendants.

Snider "Jap" Blanchard of Baltimore bought heroin from Manfredonia from 1966 through early 1973, except for the roughly six months in 1970 when Manfredonia temporarily ceased dealing in narcotics.*fn2

Lawrence Iarossi was Manfredonia's confederate from 1967 to 1970. In 1968 the two started selling to Alvin Clark in Pittsburgh in addition to Blanchard. Clark had a courier, Mary Mobley, who testified at trial that both Manfredonia and Iarossi had made deliveries to her.

About January 1970 Iarossi told Manfredonia that he was going to let another middleman, Graziano Rizzo, supply Clark because he himself owed Rizzo some money. In February or March 1970, Iarossi delivered a half kilogram of heroin to Blanchard in Baltimore. On April 22, 1970, Iarossi was sentenced in the Southern District for an unrelated narcotics offense and he has been in prison ever since that date, although no evidence of his imprisonment was adduced at trial.

Leonard Rizzo was Graziano Rizzo's brother and partner. The two made sales to Clark from early 1970 through 1971. Mobley testified she was first introduced to Leonard Rizzo by Clark in Pittsburgh near the end of July 1970. Thereafter, she made numerous trips to New York on behalf of Clark to receive heroin packages from each of the brothers.

Also, on one occasion in early 1971 Leonard Rizzo supplied heroin to Manfredonia himself when Manfredonia's regular supplier, Papa, was temporarily unable to produce. Conversely, on one occasion in June 1971 Graziano Rizzo bought some heroin from Manfredonia. In addition, Graziano Rizzo sold a package of heroin to Manfredonia and Barone sometime in 1972.

Renato Croce was a partner of the Rizzo brothers. Mobley testified that on one occasion when she met Leonard Rizzo in New York, Croce was with him carrying the heroin. Further evidence against Croce was a pound of heroin seized by police agents in the Bronx in 1973 after a search of a car in which Croce and Graziano Rizzo had been driving. Prior to the seizure the agents had observed Croce and Rizzo in circumstances that strongly implied they were dealing in heroin. In this connection, the agents also arrested a customer of Rizzo and Croce's, Richard Navedo, in whose address book was discovered the entry "Jim Blanchard (The Jap) Somewhere on Green St., Balt., Md." Defendant Snider Blanchard's nickname was "Jap" and he lived on Greenspan Avenue in Baltimore.

James Panebianco was introduced to Manfredonia by Iarossi in 1968. In 1969 he brought some heroin to the basement of Iarossi's Bronx house for testing. On Manfredonia's mentioning to him that some of Blanchard's friends were having trouble getting heroin, Panebianco offered to provide a half kilogram. The deal fell through, however, because Blanchard's friends found another source.

In February or March 1971, Panebianco sold a quarter kilogram of heroin to Manfredonia because he was temporarily unable to obtain heroin from Papa. In July 1971 Papa's heroin stash was seized by police in Queens, and Manfredonia again went to Panebianco and bought a half kilogram. A day or so later, Graziano Rizzo came to Manfredonia's house and said he too was having trouble getting ...

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