This article was last modified on June 28, 2015.


The Cocaine Empire of Tony Peters, 1979-1983

Anthony Peters was the “kingpin” of an extensive cocaine-dealing business in Milwaukee from 1979 until 1983. Lawrence Peters, Anthony’s brother, acted as the second-in-command of the conspiracy and took care of whatever Anthony Peters did not attend to personally. Jacek Odoner travelled to Florida to buy cocaine, stored the cocaine in his father’s house, and was one of Anthony Peters’ numerous “delivery boys.”

On April 26, 1983, the district court issued two search warrants, one authorizing a search of 3370 North Gordon Place, Milwaukee, the other authorizing a search at 3043 North Hackett, Milwaukee.

In April 1983, a grand jury entered a fourteen-count indictment against Anthony Peters, Lawrence Peters, Jacek Odoner, Edward Odoner, John Gingras, John Redford, Walter Daniels, Sal Dacquisto, and Thomas Pogodzinski. The majority of the counts named Anthony Peters, with the others figuring in either one or two counts. Matthew and Stephen Peters, two other brothers alleged to be involved in the conspiracy, were not charged (though Matthew was charged in a separate case of selling to an undercover officer).

In May 1984, Anthony and Larry Peters, Odoner, Dacquisto and Pogodzinski went on trial. Walter Daniels, John Gingras, and John Redford negotiated separate plea agreements. Edward Odoner, Jacek Odoner’s brother, disappeared, allegedly with money from the cocaine ring, and was never apprehended. Gingras and Redford testified for the government. John Redford testified that in 1981 Anthony Peters sent him to take over Peters’ “Houston Connection” from another conspirator. While in Houston, Redford sold cocaine, mailed to him from Milwaukee by Larry Peters, and supervised John Schroeder and Debbie Helmuth who also distributed cocaine for Anthony Peters in Houston.

Michael Dale, Peters’ roommate at one time, testified that he had a phone conversation with Peters after a federal agent had visited Dale and questioned him about his relationship with Anthony Peters. Dale testified that Peters asked what Dale had told the agents, and he told Dale that “a lot of people would go down” if Dale told the agents anything. Peters also stated that “the only good snitch is a dead snitch.”

Mark Gernetzke testified that he went to Aspen, Colorado, with Anthony Peters in 1979. Peters told Gernetzke to sit apart during the plane ride to Aspen and also on the return trip to Milwaukee. At Peters’ apartment upon returning from Aspen, Gernetzke testified, Peters had a clear plastic bag containing a white substance. Michael Dale testified that Anthony Peters told him that a man named “Dave” from Aspen, Colorado “knew where to get the cocaine.” Dale later met a “Dave” at Peters’ apartment, and Peters silenced Dale when he asked Peters if this was the same “Dave.” Dale identified a driver’s license photograph of David Word as the man he had met at Peters’ apartment. Michael Schroeder testified that Larry Peters told him that initially the cocaine came from Aspen, Colorado and later from Miami.

Two witnesses, Mark Gernetzke and Randy Hill, testified that for several years Odoner delivered cocaine ordered from Anthony Peters to them. George Gama told the jury that he went to Odoner’s home with Anthony Peters to pick up cocaine he had bought from Peters. Anthony Peters told him at the time that cocaine was stored at Odoner’s home. Michael Schroeder’s testimony corroborates this, as Schroeder testified he also picked up cocaine at Odoner’s home with Larry Peters. Schroeder furthermore testified that he rejected Larry Peters’ offer to go to Florida and that Larry told him that Odoner traveled to Florida several times to pick up cocaine for $10,000 a trip. The government introduced hotel and airline records indicating that Odoner traveled from Milwaukee to Miami. In addition, Michael Dale stated that he delivered cocaine with Anthony Peters to Odoner.

Sal Dacquisto was convicted of conspiracy, was sentenced to eighteen months in prison, but did not appeal. The jury acquitted Thomas Pogodzinski. Larry Peters, Anthony Peters’ brother, was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and was sentenced to twelve years in prison. Jacek Odoner was convicted of one count of conspiring to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Anthony Peters was convicted of nine counts of possession and distribution of cocaine; one count of use of the telephone to distribute cocaine; one count of interstate travel to facilitate a business enterprise involving the distribution of cocaine; and one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. Peters received a total of twenty-two years in prison and a special parole term of three years. (By comparison, Anthony Pipito, whose cocaine ring was likely much smaller and continuing for fewer years, was given an incredible 121 years in prison, where he died. Why did Peters get favorable treatment?)

Also try another article under Organized Crime
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

One Response to “The Cocaine Empire of Tony Peters, 1979-1983”

  1. Drew Hunkins Says:

    “Why did Peters get favorable treatment?”

    Excellent question Gavin!

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