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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Big Ang talks about her arrest for cocaine and shares tips on house arrest in new book


Reality Star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola with her dog Louie at home while filming for her show on VH1, in Staten Island, New York on July 26, 2012.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Angela Raiola is the niece of the late Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, a former Genovese crime family captain. “Big Ang” now lives in Staten Island, where she runs The Drunken Monkey bar and co-stars in the VH1 “Mob Wives” reality show. In her book, “Bigger is Better,” she dishes on family traditions, hobbies and her killer boobs (on a Catskills vacation, a bat flew directly into her chest and fell, splat, dead on the ground). In this excerpt, she discusses the fine art of living under house arrest.
BY ANGELA "BIG ANG" RAIOLA
I WAS arrested once. The circumstances that led up to it are why my guard goes up when people ask too many questions. I thought I could trust someone — I’ll call her Scumbag — and she stabbed me in the back. Being ratted out feels like a violation. It’s hard to trust anyone again. My guard has been up 24–7 since it happened to me.
The day of my arrest back in 2001, I was driving my car, and three or four cop cars suddenly surrounded me and blocked me in. They pulled me over into a secluded spot. I found out later why they did the roadside intercept. If they’d gone to my house, the word would go out that I’d been picked up. If no one knew about it, they could try to flip me. But they had no idea who they were talking to.
The cops drove me around all day. While I was in the car, they played the tapes that Scumbag had recorded of me. She’d worn a wire and followed me into the bathroom once. On the tapes, I could hear myself peeing. It was gross. I heard myself talking about my side job of selling pot and cocaine out of the bar I was working at the time, talking about the product quality, and the logistics of selling it and cash transfers. As I listened, I fell deeper and deeper into shock. Not only was I in deep s---, someone I had thought of as a friend had put me there.
The detectives drove me around the neighborhood and asked me about my friends, my business, hammering away all day to get me to talk. They had to stop for gas twice (but no food or bathroom breaks, pr---s). They asked me about selling coke and about a couple of friends of mine who’d recently died. They asked if I knew who was responsible. The pressure was on. But the detectives couldn’t flip me. I guess they figured, if we can’t make her crack after ten hours, she probably won’t, ever. They took me in and officially arrested me. The charge was possession of cocaine — I had fourteen bags of it on me when they picked me up — and selling drugs.
People ask me why I did it. I was a single mom, supporting my family, paying $3,000 in rent. I did it for the money. I wouldn’t do it again and haven’t since. I learned my lesson. It’s not worth the risk. But the bigger lesson was to be careful who you let into your life. Scumbag is now in the witness protection program, and she can rot in hell for all I care.
Because of those tapes (and a lot of other evidence), fourteen people were arrested in what the DEA and NYPD called Operation White Heat. On the totem pole of those arrested, I was on the bottom rung. I was only in jail for one day. I put up a $100,000 bond and was sent home.
Two years later, I pleaded guilty to selling cocaine. I was sentenced to three years’ probation and four months of house arrest. Of the other fourteen defendants in the sting, eight also got probation. Six went to prison. Some are still there.
During my house arrest, I had to wear a monitor so the Feds knew where I was at all times
... My girlfriends and family came by every day. That also made me feel less claustrophobic. But for someone like me who needs to be where the action is and loves to go out, being confined to one place was torture. The only way to get through it was to keep myself distracted and busy. Here’re my suggestions if you do find yourself under house arrest:
1. Hire a trainer. Mine came every week and made me sweat. Loved the trainer; hated the workouts. But they did help me burn off a lot of nervous energy and kept me from going bats--- crazy.
2. Mark the experience. Cari-Ann came over with her ink and needles once, and we had a little at-home tattoo party. She gave some of us new tats on our toes of ladybugs and cherries. Of course, we had to open a few bottles of Opus One to dull the pain.
3. Bring the party to you. I should say “parties.” We had a New Year’s Eve party at my place, and everyone came with bottles of champagne and platters of food. I’m sure the Feds enjoyed watching us have a great time from their van down the block. We toasted the New Year, which would bring my freedom. We kept the party going until the next day, and the day after that. What else was I gonna do? Roll into a ball and cry?
4. Have sleepovers. It was like being back in junior high, inviting all the girls to come sleep over to drink, eat, and talk about boys.
5. Draw the blinds. I was so sick of staring at those four walls, I opened all the blinds and curtains. I’d walk around in the house wearing whatever (or not wearing much of anything). It didn’t occur to me that someone might be watching. My neighbor across the street had been tuning in to my front windows like a TV set. I was his personal reality TV show. I guess I might’ve been kind of entertaining in my daily fashion show (I tried on a lot of outfits to kill the time). So this psycho creep started putting love letters in my mailbox, along with little gifts. I had no idea who was sending them, and the letters freaked me out. But, since I was being watched by the Feds, too, a cop was always nearby. I wasn’t scared the creep would do anything. I did draw the blinds, though.
6. Build a strong fence. The one time I violated my house arrest was totally by accident. We had a dog at the time, Joey. That poor dog was going stir-crazy, too. The kids took him on walks, and we put him out in the yard. But he wanted to run. Anyway, one day I open the front door to let someone in, and Joey nosed his way around my legs. He took off like a shot. I said, “Oh, s---,” and ran after him. I was in the moment. I didn’t think about what I was doing. But sure enough, the alarm went off, and the next thing I know, a cop car pulls up alongside me on the street as I’m running after the dog.
The cop said, “Where do you think you’re going?” or something like that, as if I was going to make a break for it in my bathrobe and slippers.
“My dog ran away.”
“Get in.”
I did, and the cops drove me around until we found Joey. I appreciated the help. But I bet they wanted to find the dog just to make sure I wasn’t bulls------- them about why I’d gone on the lam. For half a block.
 


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