ROCCO DE CORD
Camden Courier-Post - January 2, 1928
PARADISE ADMITS HE IS NARCOTIC KING
after a lengthy investigation, Anthony ‘Babe’ Paradise, of Camden
has confessed to being the head of a narcotic ring operating throughout
South Jersey, it was declared yesterday by Captain John
Golden, head of the city detective bureau.
also admitted that he is a drug addict, Golden
said, making the fact known when he became ill in his cell at the city
jail and calling for Dr.
W.G. Bailey, who has been treating him for the
With three other men, who are accused as accomplices, Paradise is being held for a preliminary hearing in Police Court tomorrow morning. The four men, Golden said, will probably be held without bail pending grand jury action and be committed to the Camden County Jail. At the jail, detainers will be lodged against the quartette by Federal narcotics agents, who co-operated with city and county authorities in the investigation, which resulted in the arrests.
declared that city detectives had purchased more than $500 worth of
drugs from Paradise and his agents, in obtaining evidence against the
ring, which authorities said reaches into Atlantic City and other South
Jersey communities as well as Camden.
The three men arrested with Paradise are James Mucci, 18 years old, of 324 Stevens Street, Rocco DeCord, 21 years old, of 221 Spruce Street, and Andrew Hill, of Locust Street, near Kaighn Avenue. According to the detectives, the base of operations of the “ring” was in the Third Ward. Mucci and DeCord were arrested in a barbershop at Third and Locust streets, three blocks from the Wiley M. E. Church where the pastor, Rev. John S. Hackett, recently exposed vice conditions existing in the Third ward and assailed the Department Public Safety for laxity. The arrest of Paradise and the others is believed to be a result of the result of the clergyman’s scathing sermons.
Paradise and Hill were arrested several hours before the other two men. Fearing that they get word to other members of the “ring” police took the two men to Merchantville police headquarters, where Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Varbalow and Chief County Detective Lawrence T. Doran were waiting. Statements were obtained from the two, and meanwhile Mucci and DeCord were taken into custody. Paradise, who is 34 years old, served a year In State Prison five years ago for selling narcotics.
George Ward, Louis
Shaw, and Thomas Cheeseman, of the city, and M.H.
Shapiro and J.H. McFadden, of the federal office in Philadelphia,
arranged the purchase of a ‘deck” of heroin from Paradise, and
‘caught him with the goods’ when
he met them at Nineteenth Street and River Road, near his, home at 927
North Nineteenth Street.
Paradise was in his expensive automobile when arrested. It was the machine he had used to distribute narcotics to his agents and addicts during the past few years, the detectives said.
of dope which sold for $1.50 each, police said, were placed in
the automobile which was driven to a certain point as prearranged, and
then Paradise would leave it parked, the detcrt1ves said.
At a stated hour an agent or addict would approach the machine, take the “dope” inside, and leave money as payment. Paradise would return and collect the money received, it was said.
That the ring extended to Philadelphia, New York, and other large Eastern cities was indicated by the many times the automobile was parked at Camden bridge plaza for hours, when exchanges would be made, the detectives said.
February 9, 1928
|Camden Courier-Post - February 29, 1928|
GUILTY OF DOPE PEDDLING
Jury Out Less Than Hour; 'Babe Paradise' Up Next Week
Convicted by a Criminal Court jury of conspiracy and the possession and sale of narcotics, Joseph Colanduno, 29 years old, 431 Walnut Street, said by police to be a member of a powerful dope ring in Camden, will be sentenced by Judge Shay tomorrow morning.
The jury deliberated less than an hour before returning a verdict of guilty on seven indictments, marking the end of the first of a series of "dope" trials scheduled to be heard by Judge Shay. The most important hearing will be that of Anthony "Babe" Paradise, who has been indicted in eleven counts on narcotics charges, six of them true bills accusing Paradise and James Mucci with conspiracy to sell narcotic drugs. Another alleged member of the gang, Rocco DeCord, 221 Spruce Street, who recently pleaded guilty to six indictments and who turned state's evidence at yesterday's trial, will be sentenced later. Still another alleged "dope runner", Alex Frumento, is being sought by police.
DeCord and three confessed addicts testified against Colanduno at the trial yesterday. DeCord said that he had been hired by the defendant and Frumento to sell small packages marked "H" and "C" to certain men who had been introduced to him. DeCord declared that he did not know what the packages contained, nor did he ever use dope.
The drug users, Nolan Clark, 28 years old who gave no address; George "Gyp" Haines, 29 years old, 527 Spruce Street, and Andrew Hill, 20 years, Locust Street and Kaighn Avenue, declared they had brought dope from Colanduno on various occasions.
Colanduno, who until last December operated the Primrose Inn at Barrington with Frumento as his partner, denied that he ever possessed drugs or hired DeCord. His arrest, he said, was a "frame-up" engineered by his "enemies". His wife Hazel and his wife's grandmother, Mrs. Laura Brakeman, who lives with Mrs. Colanduno, both testified that they never had seen DeCord or the three addicts buying drugs at the inn, as they declared on the witness stand.
James Gatti, 18 years old, of Philadelphia, who is serving a six-month term in the county jail for robbery, took the stand on Colanduno's behalf. He testified that DeCord had told him in the jail that the confessed dope peddler's statement implicating Colanduno had been forced from him by police.
Assistant Prosecutor Joseph A. Varbalow stated that the Paradise case probably would be disposed of next week with the return from Florida of Samuel P. Orlando, attorney for the alleged "Dope King of Camden.",
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