Amsterdam drug dealer sentenced to 40 to 80 years

By Steven Cook
Gazette Reporter

March 21, 2002
FONDA - An Amsterdam man was sentenced to up to 80 years in state prison Wednesday on eight drug charges, Montgomery County District Attorney Jed Conboy said.

Luis Battistini, 41, of 71 Milton Ave., was sentenced to four consecutive terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison for his January convictions on eight drug charges.

Battistini was convicted by a Montgomery County court jury Jan. 10 on four counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Battistini was sentenced to consecutive 10 to 20 year sentences on each of the four sale charges, making the total 40 to 80 years, Conboy said. He was sentenced to concurrent 10 to 20 year sentences on each of the possession charges, Conboy said.

The eight charges were based on four separate purchases of cocaine made by confidential Amsterdam police informants in the city of Amsterdam in May 2001.

The jury deliberated approximately 3 1/2 hours before reaching its verdict.

"I'm satisfied with it," Conboy said. "It sends a message."

Battistini remained silent during Wednesday's sentencing, Conboy said. His attorney Deborah Reyes, of Amsterdam, unsuccessfully argued for a lighter sentence, Conboy said.

Reyes could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Battistini had been offered a plea deal prior to trial that would have seen him receiving one 10 to 20 year sentence. Battistini refused the deal, Conboy said.

Police have said Battistini conducted a drug operation in the city's East End that netted those involved $1,500 weekly.

Battistini was arrested in Puerto Rico in 1996 after a six-month investigation by more than 100 federal, state and local law enforcement officers. Twenty-two others involved in the drug network were also arrested.

Investigators, who dubbed Battistini "the kingpin" at the time, said he was the main source for narcotics in the city of Amsterdam, running an East End-based operation that netted about $20,000 weekly in cocaine and heroin sales.

Battistini served 2 1/2 years of a 10-year sentence on those charges.

Posted July 13, 2002