Campus vendor gets prison for selling drugs

Dec. 5, 2000
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SYRACUSE, N.Y., Dec. 5 -- A popular Syracuse University vendor who sold hotdogs and hamburgers will spend the next 37 months in federal prison for also selling marijuana and cocaine from his street wagon.

"This individual abused a high-profile position he had on campus by selling drugs on campus and from his home," assistant U.S. Attorney John Katko said.

Mark Ziegler, 36, of Syracuse, N.Y., the owner of "Ziggy's Wagon" pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell cocaine as a part of the major drug trafficking ring, Katko said.

Ziegler was among 14 people indicted in October 1999 for conspiring to sell drugs in Syracuse, N.Y. Federal authorities seized more than six pounds of cocaine, $19,000 in cash, two handguns, an assault rifle and a half-pound of marijuana when they rounded up the drug ring.

According to prosecutors, the ring was led by Darryl Yank of North Syracuse.

Using court-ordered wiretaps and surveillance of hand-to-hand sales, prosecutors said Ziegler was selling drugs out of Ziggy's Wagon. Ziegler ordered at least an ounce of cocaine and sometimes several ounces weekly from September through mid-November last year, Katko told the Syracuse Post Standard.

The hot-dog salesman claimed in court that he rarely sold drugs from his wagon but that he made referrals.

"Yes, people used to come to my truck and I'd tell them where they could get it," Ziegler said. "I did maybe 10 transactions from the van, total. I got a little sloppy. But I didn't want it around my place of business."

Ziegler said in court he offered to help the federal government catch Syracuse University students selling drugs at fraternity parties in exchange for a lighter sentence, but prosecutors refused his offer. Police seized Ziegler's wagon as property used in drug-trafficking.

Police also seized the Syracuse suburban home of another defendant, Sandra Oropallo. They auctioned the house Monday $56,000.

Authorities also seized a Syracuse office building. Proceeds from the sale will go to a law enforcement forfeiture fund.

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