New witness takes the stand in 'pizza connection' trial


NEW YORK -- A forensic chemist with the Italian police Monday replaced the government's key witness at the $1.6 million heroin smuggling trial, a former mob chieftain from Sicily.

Chief Inspector Antonietta Mantoro of the Italian National Science Police, under questioning by Ivan Fisher, defense attorney for Salvatore Catalano, 44, of Queens, told how she conducted tests on 42 packets of suspected heroin seized in Italy in March 1980 as part of the smuggling conmspiracy.


Among the tests used to determine the substance was heroin were microscopic analyses, silver nitrate treatments, thin layer chromotography, nitric acid baths and ether extraction, she said speaking in Italian through an interpreter.

The analysis showed 'with a reasonable degree of scientific certainty' the substance was heroin.

Catalano is one of 22 defendants in the case dubbed the 'pizza connection' trial before U.S. District Court Judge Pierre Leval. Seveb women, five men and six alternates comprise the jury in the case.

The nickname for the case derived from the government's accusation that the defendants allegedly smuggled heroin into the country using pizza parlors as a front.

Mantoro was the second witness for the government, following Tommaso Buscetta, who went public with information about the Mafia after losing seven relations in a Sicilian La Cosa Nostra civil war.


He appeared on the stand for nine days, detailing the structure of the Mafia and naming several of the witnesses as mafioso.

Buscetta, in a federal witness protection program, was expected to testify at several trials both in the United States and Italy involving members and suspected members of the Mafia.

Trial was adjorned until 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

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