Two arrested in Franklin Square drug investigation

The search, part of Operation Natalie, the county’s effort against opioids, allegedly led to the discovery of heroin, cocaine and other drugs inside the residence of a Franklin Square man


A man from Franklin Square and a woman from North Valley Stream were arrested the evening of September 5 in Franklin Square after violently resisting arrest during a narcotics investigation.

Joseph Betz, 31, and Nicolette Cicchetti, 30, were approached by Narcotics and Vice Squad detectives in the Franklin Square area on September 5, according to a statement released by the Nassau County Police Department.

The narcotics investigation led to the residence of Betz, on Bernice Road in Franklin Square. On the evening of September 5, detectives observed Betz exiting his house and entering a vehicle. When police stopped and approached Betz, he quickly accelerated backwards twice and struck both a tree and a parked car. Next, Betz accelerated forward at a high speed towards the detectives when they approached him again, and the detectives had to jump away from the vehicle to avoid being struck.

Betz fled the scene and was observed by detectives returning to his residence, where police again approached him. Betz allegedly violently resisted arrest and kicked and punched the detectives. Betz and three of the detectives fell down the front stairs at Betz’ residence before he was taken into custody by the officers. Three detectives who conducted the investigation and arrest of Betz were transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries.

Detectives recovered heroin, cocaine, alprazolam and oxycodone from the residence of Betz, and one oxycodone pill and one alprazolam pill were discovered to be possessed by Cicchetti once she was taken into custody, according to the statement.

A further investigation uncovered various pills, powders and drug packaging materials in the residence of Betz as well as the presence of Cicchetti, who also resisted arrest before being taken into custody by police.

Betz was charged with seven counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, five counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two counts of criminal possession of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, first-degree attempted assault, three counts of second-degree assault, as well as resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an incident.

Cicchetti was charged with five counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, four counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as resisting arrest. Betz and Cicchetti will both be arraigned on Monday, September 6, at First District Court in Hempstead.

Operation Natalie was named after a Massapequa teenager, Natalie Ciappa, who died of a heroin overdose following a party in Seaford over a decade ago. The effort, originally launched by the county in March 2018 to fight the opioid epidemic on Long Island, was rebooted in June after the coronavirus pandemic shut down operations during the first half of 2021.

Operation Natalie’s five-prong approach includes awareness, enforcement, education, diversion and treatment. The enforcement element, of course, includes arresting and incarcerating drug users and drug dealers.

“The cops are doing a phenomenal job,” said Nassau County Police commissioner Patrick Ryder at the announcement of the operation’s launch in 2018. “The Nassau County Police Department reminds the public that as part of Operation Natalie and our Multi Prong Approach of Education, Awareness, Enforcement, Treatment, Diversion and After Care Visits, we will be continuing with our zero-tolerance response to any and all illegal drug activity within the county,” Nassau County police said in the statement.

Betz is being represented by the Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on cases. Cicchetti is being represented by defense attorney Patrick Kaufman, who did not respond to a request seeking comment.