The Auto Doctor on Bennington Street can add alleged involvement in a drug ring operation broken up by the FBI and Revere Police to its troubled existence.
The auto body shop at 1181 Bennington St. is slated to be sold and developed into high-end rental apartments and that plan couldn’t come fast enough for residents and neighbors abutting the property.
The Auto Doctor, according to Revere Police, has been implicated in a major organized crime network run by a father-son team that funneled thousands of opiate pills into Revere and Eastie. The drug ring was broken up by the Revere Police and the FBI– with two Revere residents indicted and one Staten Island man indicted in Federal Court.
The indictments earlier this month were the result of a year-long investigation into the distribution of 30 mg Percocet (OxyCodone) pills in the community.
Revere Police said they began the investigation after receiving several complaints from residents in the Malden Street, Revere area. Complaints indicated there were many drug transactions taking place on side streets.
“The investigation revealed the group was operating out of a Keayne Street residences and a Bennington Street auto body garage in East Boston,” read a release from the Revere Police. “Revere Police contacted the Boston FBI Organized Crime Unit when it became apparent due to a previous joint investigation that the current case would be of interest to them. The Revere Police and FBI Organized Crime Task Force conducted a joint investigation that resulted in the issuance of three search warrants.”
As a result of those warrants, police seized more than 2,000 30mg Oxycodone tablets, $50,000 in cash, and one stolen firearm. The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted three parties in Boston Federal Court. Upon conviction property located in Revere and East Boston along with four motor vehicles will be subject to forfeiture.
The East Boston location was later revealed to be the Auto Doctor repair shop on Bennington Street according to Revere police.
Indicted from Revere was a father-son team, Mario Scata, 69 and Manuele Scata. A third man, Ilir Bregu, 43, of Staten Island , NY, was arrested after his motor vehicle was searched by detectives who obtained a federal search warrant for his car and recovered a large sum of cash from an electronic hide within the vehicle.
The Auto Doctor has had a sordid past in the community for sometime. The owner was fined $180,000 by Attorney General Martha Coakley for illegal dumping into the Belle Isle Marsh in 2012. In 2012 Eastie environmental activists that have worked for decades to try and keep the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation clean were fuming after it was revealed that the owner of the Auto Doctor was caught dumping there.
The auto repair shop was sued and later fined by the Attorney General’s office for failing to clean up underground gasoline contamination and not removing construction and demolition debris that was illegally dumped in the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation.
According to the fine handed down by Coakley that owner failed to clean up underground gasoline contamination at his auto business and failing to remove construction and demolition debris that he dumped – or allowed others to dump – in the Belle Isle Marsh.
The lawsuit also found that the owner violated the state’s hazardous waste law by failing to assess and remediate the gasoline-contaminated soil and groundwater at his property, even after entering into an administrative consent order with the MassDEP to do so in 2006.
The business came under scrutiny prior to April 2010 when he dumped – or allowed others to dump – three large piles of construction and demolition debris from his property in a wetland buffer area of the Belle Isle Marsh. The dumping was in violation of state wetlands and solid waste law.
Belle Isle is a protected reserve managed by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The marsh was saved in the early 1980s by then Governor Michael Dukakis after there was a plan by Massport to construct huge containers to store jet fuel. Since that time the Belle Isle Marsh has become an area of ecological importance as Boston’s last remaining salt marsh.
The marsh serves as a nursery for fish and shellfish and provides critical habitat to many locally rare salt marsh plants and wildlife, including at least five species of birds state-listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. The marshes also provide vitally important flood damage prevention to the surrounding human communities, as alleged in the complaint.
A plan to buy, demolish and build housing on the site by developers Michael Patrick and Brian Hosker is before the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).
The plan calls for the construction of a four story building that will include 44 units of housing.