Two alleged associates from the Elizabeth-based DeCavalcante crime family of La Cosa Nostra were recently charged with possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. One of them has also been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Residents of Toms River, New Jersey— Mario Galli III, 27, and Jason Vella, 37, are charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. In addition to the drug possession charge, Galli is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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Drugs and firearm recovered

Search warrants were executed on the residences of the alleged associate members by investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office on September 19, 2019. Investigators claimed that during the search of their residences, cocaine in excess of 150 was seized along with other drug-related implements such as baking soda, grinders, digital scales, glassine envelopes, and a money counter. Cash amounting to $2,295 was also recovered they said.

Authorities also said that the search at Galli's residence resulted in the recovery of a FEG 9mm Model PGK-9HP gun loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition. This find is particularly important as Galli was on supervised release from a 2016 federal conviction at the time of the weapon's recovery. He was convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in excess of 500 grams for the aforementioned crime.

The penalty that they could face if convicted

20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine is the maximum penalty for the charge of charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and both could face this penalty if convicted. In Galli's case, he could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The second count that he has been charged with— possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, must be served consecutively to any sentence on the drug count and a $250,000 fine. The investigation and filing of charges was attributed to the FBI's Organized Crime Task Force in Newark and investigators from Ocean County Prosecutor's Office by the US Attorney's office.