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VisionQuest state director leader of cocaine smugglers

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Youth program director arrested on cocaine trafficking charge
Friday, March 2, 2007 8:23 AM MST

TUCSON (AP) -- The state director of the youth rehabilitation program VisionQuest was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of coordinating the trafficking of more than 400 pounds of cocaine, an assistant U.S. Attorney said.

Anthony James Zasa, 51, who lives in the southern Arizona town of Elfrida, helped oversee the transfer of the drugs between Arizona to New Jersey, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lacey.

His involvement came to light on Feb. 22 after his brother was stopped while driving a motorhome in Texas, the Arizona Daily Star reported on its Web site. Authorities found about 441 pounds of cocaine in the Winnebago Roco Zasa was driving, according to court documents.

Lacey said Roco Zasa agreed to cooperate with authorities and implicated his brother as the leader in the drug deal. He told investigators his brother and a man identified as Alex Hetherington loaded the cocaine onto the motorhome and agreed to pay him for taking them to New Jersey for distribution.

Court records show agents put phony drugs in the motorhome and Roco Zasa drove on to New Jersey and met Hetherington and Kacey Hallford Root at a Hilton Hotel.

Lacey said the defendants will be prosecuted in New Jersey.

Information from: Arizona Daily Star, ... ews_44.txt

Zasa is the state director for VisionQuest. He'd been with the organization for over 20 years.
His wife and two sons work for VisionQuest.
Contento says, "The conduct that has been alleged is certainly inconsistent with our ethic and is inconsistent with our philosophies."
"Up until these allegations were made public, Tony had exhibited all the behavior and everything, acts that were consistent with our philosophy."

VisionQuest's Az director faces cocaine charge, quits
Tucson Citizen
The director of VisionQuest in Arizona has resigned after his arrest in a cocaine conspiracy case.
The arrest of Anthony James Zasa Jr., 51, came after his brother Roco Zasa was arrested Feb. 22 in Texas following a police stop in which 440 pounds of cocaine turned up in the recreational vehicle he drove, a federal complaint filed in New Jersey said.
Anthony Zasa was arrested Wednesday in Elfrida, where he lives, said Jim Lacey, an assistant U.S. attorney in Tucson.
Zasa submitted his resignation as VisionQuest's director of operations for Arizona at 9 a.m. Wednesday, hours before his arrest, said Mark Contento, executive vice president of the Tucson-based VisionQuest National Ltd.
VisionQuest offers rehabilitation programs for troubled and delinquent youths at facilities in Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Delaware, its Web site said.
Roco Zasa was arrested in Groom, Texas, the complaint said, and he told federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration that he was to deliver the drugs to New Jersey under his brother's direction.
Sham narcotics were substituted for the cocaine, and it was delivered under DEA supervision and surveillance to two other people, Lacey said. The two were arrested earlier this week.
The four will be tried in New Jersey, Lacey said, adding that if convicted, they each would face 10 years to life in prison and a maximum $4 million fine. The four are charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it.
The complaint said Roco Zasa told agents after his arrest that his brother, who the complaint said originally had the cocaine, and Alex Heatherington loaded the drugs into Roco Zasa's RV and agreed to pay Roco Zasa to drive the cocaine to Kacey Hallford Root, 25, in Elizabeth, N.J.
Heatherington and Root were arrested in New Jersey.
Heatherington, Root and Roco Zasa also were charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it, the complaint said.
Lacey did not know what Heatherington and Root did for a living.
Lacey said the cocaine would wholesale for $4 million in New Jersey.
Contento said he has known Anthony Zasa for about 20 years and "never" had any indication of problems with him.
"We are in shock and disbelief over these allegations," Contento said.
Anthony Zasa transferred from New Jersey to Tucson about a year ago to head VisionQuest's Arizona operation, Contento said.
VisionQuest started in Tucson in 1973. It cares for 1,500 youths a month nationwide, the Web site said.
Contento said counselors in Arizona are working with 100 youths ranging in age from 12 to 18.
"This has no association with VisionQuest," Contento said of the charges against Anthony Zasa.
Contento said Roco Zasa also worked for VisionQuest as a program manager, but left the organization five years ago.

Bahahah!!! looks like some one wanted to go on a vison quest of their own.

Drug war: Failed.

dear lord..has there been any fall out over this...


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