Camden Courier-Post – February 29, 1928
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.”