BOARDMAN Motel manager, friend arrested on drug charges
Police called the manager of the Wagon Wheel Motel's apartment a 'flop house' for smoking crack.
BOARDMAN -- The manager of the Wagon Wheel Motel and her roommate were arrested on drug charges when police used search warrants to enter the Market Street business.
Police arrested Kim Zitello, 44, and Julie Pezzuto, 36, on Wednesday night. Zitello, the manager, is charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and permitting drug abuse. Pezzuto is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Sgt. Mike Hughes, supervisor of the Boardman police narcotics unit, described Zitello's apartment adjoining the office as a "flop house" for smoking crack. He said two mattresses were found on the floor in the living room and numerous burned matches scattered throughout the living room and the bedroom, indicating heavy drug activity.
Boardman police were assisted in the raid by members of the Youngstown Drug Enforcement Administration task force. The investigation continues.
The war on drugs
Police Chief Jeff Patterson said his department's membership in the task force brings additional law enforcement resources to the township to address not only major drug operations but also local problems that have a significant impact on the community.
Patterson said the Wagon Wheel at 7015 Market St. is one of several motels along the street that have had longtime reputations among law enforcement officers for harboring illegal drug activity.
The chief said his department will continue to target the motels until the criminal activity ceases. He said township records show the Wagon Wheel is owned by Rahman Mazibur of Overhill Road, Boardman.
In September 2003, Boardman police and the DEA raided the Terrace Motel, 4972 Market St., and arrested the resident manager and several others on drug charges. Township officials, the Mahoning County prosecutor's Office and the state attorney general's office worked together to declare the business a nuisance and it was boarded up.