Police Say Pizzeria Owner Sold Marijuana


Photo: Nicholas Iovino/Wicked Local
The owner of Pinky’s Famous Pizza on Main Street, Medford, Mass., was arrested and charged with possession of 250 pounds of marijuana.

​A pizza shop owner in Medford, Massachusetts is facing drug trafficking charges after police claimed they found what they described as “more than $750,000 worth” of “high-grade” marijuana in his pickup truck last week, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Police said after getting a tip that owner Nikita Yanakopulos was scheduled to receive a 
large shipment” of marijuana last Friday, August 26, in Everett, they began surveillance of him, reports Peter Schworm at the Boston Globe
After followed him around Friday as he drove around Everett in a white pickup truck, officers said they saw Yanakopulos that morning in a parking lot loading cardboard boxes into the back of his pickup before driving off, according to court records.
Officers tailed him to a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, where they arrested him. Police had obtained a search warrant based on the allegation that the boxes contained marijuana. They found 11 cardboard boxes with 213 heat-sealed bags containing a total of 250 pounds of pot.
“These are troubling allegations into the suspected trafficking of over three-quarters of a million dollars of marijuana by a local business owner,” said Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.
Police said they seized the truck, three cellphones, and $2,366 in cash in the arrest. Yanakopulos indicated he did not want to speak to officers during the booking process.

After being transported to the Medford State Police Barracks, where he was booked, Yanakopulos was released on $15,000 bail posted by his wife, but was not at at the pizzeria Wednesday afternoon, according to the Globe. His lawyer, James Dilday, did not return calls for comment.

Photo: Medford State Police
Nikita Yanakopulos’s mugshot

​The pizza shop and the marijuana trafficking were apparently separate, despite the stereotypes, according to a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
“At this time there does not appear to be a connection,” spokeswoman Cara O’Brien said.
The D.A.’s office wouldn’t say whether Yanakopulos had a criminal record, but did note he had a a court case dismissed last June. They said there are no allegations he is part of a larger drug ring, but the investigation is ongoing.
State Police assigned to three prosecutors’ offices and federal agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation. It’s not clear why ICE rather than the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was the federal agency involved.
District Attorney Leone praised the collaborative effort for the drug bust and “preventing it from finding its way to young people.” Apparently the D.A. is unaware that old folks like the stuff too.
The seized marijuana was “stronger and more expensive than typical marijuana,” the D.A.’s office said. They didn’t mention who tried it out to determine it was “stronger.”
At the pizzeria on Wednesday, two employees said they’d never seen any evidence of illegal activity, and neighbors agreed. Regulars of the Main Street shop said the only thing remarkable about the restaurant was its food.
“Good buffalo wings,” said 70-year-old Bruce Forbes of New York City, who was visiting his daughter and granddaughter. “Very good.” Told of the charges, Forbes said he would probably still order the wings if the place stays open.
Yanakopulos has pleaded not guilty, and is due back in court for a pretrial conference on September 29.