VIDEO REPORT: Business Owner Back After Drug Charge

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 -- 11:24 p.m.

A local man charged with selling cocaine at his restaurant is out on bail and back working at the pizzeria.

Just last week police closed Mama Mia's Italian Restaurant in Columbus and arrested its owner, 49-year-old Vincent Ragonese. According to police, Ragonese admitted to selling cocaine from his restaurant.

But now they've re-opened and on Thursday, an employee at Mama Mia's told NBC15 that Ragonese was out on bail and back to work.

Columbia County Court records show he posted $500 bail. His bail conditions did not prevent him from working at the restaurant, only that he not possess illegal drugs.

Ragonese faces felony charges for possessing and selling cocaine from Mama Mia's.
POSTED: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 --- 1:55 p.m.

From the Columbus Police Department:

A Columbus business owner was arrested on drug related charges following the execution of a search warrant at his business on Sunday, 12/23/12.

Columbus Police received information earlier in the day of a subject who has been selling cocaine from his downtown restaurant for several years. Police established enough information and obtained a search warrant for the business.

Officers executed the search warrant at approximately 4:47 p.m. at Mama Mia’s Italian restaurant, located at 112 E. James Street. Officers recovered cocaine and paraphernalia.

A short time later, the owner was located and taken into custody. Vincent Ragonese, 49, Columbus was arrested and jailed for Maintaining a Drug Trafficking Place and Possession of Cocaine, both felonies. Additional charges are possible. Ragonese is currently in the Columbia County Jail, awaiting his Arraignment.

When questioned by investigators, Ragonese admitted he has been selling cocaine from his business for the last year.

The Columbus Police Department was assisted by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office K9 unit and the Fall River Police Department.

Lieutenant Dennis Weiner
Columbus Police Department
December 25, 2012
9:00 p.m.

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