Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Chemical Cowboys: The Club King Of New York


Greed ruled Caruso's heart. He later estimated that he made about half a million dollars in Ecstasy sales from 1991 to 1994. But he didn't stop at drug dealing. He became an accomplished swindler, trying his hand at cellular phone fraud, ATM robbery, extortion, and the hustling and robbing of dealers and friends alike. In the summer of 1992, Caruso agreed to sell twenty thousand pills to a promoter/fashion designer/Ecstasy dealer named Goldyloxx, but when Caruso had trouble coming up with the drugs, he decided it was just easier to rob the guy. Caruso hired two friends to pose as cops and when Goldyloxx sent his assistant, Mr. Purpleknown for his purple hair, makeup, and clothesover to Caruso's Gramercy Park apartment to buy the pills, the "cops" jumped Mr. Purple from behind, pushed him into the apartment, and ordered him to drop his bag of cash and lie on the ground. They handcuffed Caruso to make it seem like a real police bust. After taking his cash, they put Mr. Purple in a cab and told him they were going to let him walk this time. Caruso gave his accomplices $50,000 and spent the remaining $130,000 on studio equipment, $600 dinners, shopping sprees ($1,200 shoes and designer suits), and a first-class trip to Germany with his girlfriend.

A year later Caruso ripped off his main supplier and U.K. associate, Meru, who had sent a sixty-year-old female courier to the States to deliver nine thousand pills. Caruso took the pills and told the woman to go home, that he'd already taken care of Meru's payment. She knew she was being conned, but what could she do?

Peter Gatien's club empire was slowly being overrun by wannabe thugs and drug-addicted divas. And yet Caruso's status at Limelight never wavered, even when he installed criminals into Gatien's clubs and handed over more responsibility to his right-hand man, Robert Gordon. Gordon wasn't even a club employee, but he was ever-present and known to socialize with Gatien. Gordon and a half dozen or so of his friends became regular "house dealers" working under the protection of club security. Some of the dealersTotally Todd, Desi Monster, and Gene the Rabbitcame from Club Kid culture, while others were ravers and toughs who just co-opted it, guys like Paulie "Sir Paul" Torres and Frankie "the Baker" Romano. Gordon took the nickname "Stacy," short for Ecstasy.


Excerpt from Chemical Cowboys by Lisa Sweetingham