RACINE — The operator of De’Pizza Chef restaurant was sentenced to one year in jail and five years probation Monday after he was found guilty of selling drugs to a confidential informant out of his restaurant.
And Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling is not happy with what he describes as a light sentence imposed by the court.
“My deputies put their lives on the line during these very dangerous undercover operations and the outcome in what was a home run case is simply disappointing and unacceptable,” Schmaling said.
In 2017, Edward Bilotto, 43, of the 3300 block of 19th Avenue in Kenosha, was charged with eight felony counts after he was reportedly selling drugs out of the Downtown Racine restaurant. As of Monday evening, the restaurant was closed.
On Dec. 5, Bilotto pleaded no contest to four felony counts of manufacture and delivery of schedule I, II narcotics, manufacture and delivery of non-narcotics, manufacture and delivery of schedule IV drugs and maintaining a drug trafficking place. The other charges were dismissed but read in, online records show.
On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Mark Nielsen handed down a sentence of seven years for the first count, with four years incarceration and three years extended supervision; three years for the second and third counts, with one year incarceration and two years extended supervision for each; and one year in the Racine County Jail with Huber for the fourth count.
The second count will run consecutive to count one, and count three will run concurrent to count two, online records show.
But the judge’s sentence was imposed and stayed, which means Bilotto will not face jail time for counts one through three unless he violates his probation, which will last for five years. Bilotto will face jail time for the fourth count, minus any time served.
“Bilotto, if convicted on all charges, should be serving more than 90 years in state prison where he belongs,” Schmaling said. “Instead, he will serve one year in our county jail.”
Conditions of Bilotto’s parole will include absolute sobriety, random drug test and alcohol breath tests. Bilotto must also maintain full-time employment, online court records show.
“Talk about the wrong message being sent to our community and our children while we are battling a national epidemic,” Schmaling said. “The fact Bilotto wasn’t given a strict and harsh sentence is more than disappointing to everyone in our county. We will never know how many opioid addictions he has fed or started.”
Controlled drug buys
According to the criminal complaint:
Between April 26 and May 24 last year, a confidential informant made five separate controlled buys from Bilotto and then returned the purchased items to the Racine Metro Drug Unit. Many of the purchases were made in a shed behind De Pizza Chef, 235 Main St.
“Sheriff’s Metro Detectives had five controlled undercover buys and countless hours of investigation work,” Schmaling said.
During the purchases, Bilotto sold the confidential informant various pills, including Percocet, acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride pills, Adderall, Vicodin and Xanax pills.
“I am beyond disappointed in our judicial system in this case,” Schmaling said.
“Talk about the wrong message being sent to our community and our children while we are battling a national epidemic.” Christopher Schmaling,
Racine County Sheriff
"Talk about the wrong message being sent to our community and our children while we are battling a national epidemic."
Christopher Schmaling, Racine County Sheriff