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Cops nab fugitive Florida pill pusher on the lam in Staten Island, New York

December 5, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cops nab fugitive Florida pill pusher on the lam in Staten Island, New York

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An accused fugitive pill peddler in Florida spent over a year in hiding while working in Staten Island auto body shops, even as one of his brothers sat in a prison cell for his role in the same drug operation.

On Tuesday, authorities nabbed 40-year-old Michael Banasky in his boss’ locked office at a Staten Island body shop. Officials with the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, which includes U.S. Marshals and NYPD investigators, took him into custody, The New York Daily News reported.

Banasky, his brothers Theodore and Thomas, along with 15 others were apprehended in 2010 for their roles in an oxycodone trafficking organization, at the height of Florida’s “pill mill” epidemic, when relaxed laws permitted pain management clinics to administer extensive amounts of opioid prescriptions.

For more than a year, Michael Banasky provided false information to doctors so he could obtain close 10,000 doses of the potent narcotic, according to authorities in Temple Terrace, Florida.

Banasky and his 38-year-old brother Thomas were listed to go on trial in April 2015, but Michael cut off his ankle monitor, skipped bail, and disappeared just before the proceedings started, according to Mark Cox, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County state attorney’s office.

Michael's brother Thomas Banasky, 38, is currently serving 25 years in prison. (HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

Michael’s brother Thomas Banasky, 38, is currently serving 25 years in prison. (HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Thomas Banasky went to trial and was sentenced in May 2015 to 25 years behind bars. Prosecutors did not pursue criminal charges against Theodore.

On Tuesday, Michael Banasky was charged as a fugitive from justice and is scheduled to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on December 13th.

In an interesting twist, Staten Island police caught Banasky purchasing methadone pills outside of an auto body shop back in August. Even though the officers had his correct name, they didn’t realize that he was wanted in Florida. Authorities issued him a desk appearance ticket and let him go. Banasky pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug possession and received a conditional discharge.

Officials have not disclosed why cops didn’t immediately associate Banasky to the fugitive warrant.

After he had been captured, Banasky told authorities that he fled from Florida in part as a legal strategy so that he wouldn’t be tried beside his brother.

He even took a man’s ID from a pharmacy counter in Brooklyn and dyed his gray beard black to resemble the man.

He was employed at a few body shops, and though he had a heroin addiction, he was talented at his job.

“He’s very good at it,” one police source stated. “They all praised him.”

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