A woman has been arrested and charged in the death of a prominent New York City chef after his body was found at a Queens hostel, CBS New York reports. Surveillance footage shows a woman, believed to be Angelina Barini, 41, taken in for questioning at the Kamway Lodge in Elmhurst, Queens.
That’s where detectives found the body of Andrea Zamperoni, the 33-year-old head chef of Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central who had been missing for days.
New details in federal court documents describe the discovery Wednesday evening. When police knocked on the hostel room door, they were met with the smell of a dead body and burning incense. They said Barini let them in, immediately claiming “she did not do it” and that “her pimp made her do it.”
Investigators quickly spotted a garbage can in the corner stuffed with bed sheets and a human foot sticking out. They also found drug paraphernalia, plus bleach, an electric saw and an empty suitcase.
Barini told authorities her pimp and several other men discussed whether to cut up the body, saying he wouldn’t let her call 911.
She said she met the chef three days prior when he paid her for sex and she gave him a variety of drugs, like cocaine and ecstasy. He then began bleeding from the mouth and nose and did not wake up.
“The phone was going to voicemail. By the time he didn’t show up to work at 1 in the afternoon we really started to worry,” Cipriani Dolci manager Fernando Dallorso told CBS New York.
“He talks to his mom every day in Italy. All of a sudden his mom calls me Monday asking where her son is,” sous chef Manuel Ignacio Albo said.
Barini admitted to detectives she sometimes offered drugs to clients provided by her pimp. Investigators discovered she and several others would steal from their victims once incapacitated.
Prosecutors said two other men were also found dead in other Queens motels days apart back in July, with fentanyl in their systems, also connecting Barini to their deaths. She was spotted on surveillance footage in both cases.
Barini did face a judge at Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday afternoon. She is charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute substances containing fentanyl. It’s unclear if anyone else is in custody. Meanwhile, police sources suspect Zamperoni overdosed, but they are still waiting on an official cause of death.
Barini has 25 prior arrests for drugs and prostitution since 2001.
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Prostitute hit with fentanyl charges after 3 NYC men, including Cipriani chef, die of overdoses in seedy motels: feds
The missing Cipriani chef found wrapped up and rotting in a seedy motel last week was the victim of a drug-pushing prostitute linked to several bodies peppered around Queens, officials said Monday.
Andrea Zamperoni, 33, head chef at Cipriani Dolci in Midtown’s Grand Central Terminal, was the third man found lifeless in a Queens motel after spending time with Angelina Barini, 41, in the last two months, authorities revealed.
In all three cases, video showed Barini with the men shortly before they were served up cold from suspected drug overdoses, according to a complaint in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The first alleged victim was found July 4 at the Airway Inn at LaGuardia. A week later on July 11, Queens resident Jean-Alessander Silvero, 28, was discovered dead at the Crown Motor Inn in Woodside, his family confirmed.
Zamperoni, originally from Italy, was found stuffed in a garbage can with his foot sticking out at the Kamway Lodge on 77th St. in Elmhurst last Wednesday, a few blocks from his home.
Barini worked with a pimp and other dealers and sometimes robbed customers once they were “drugged and incapacitated,” the complaint said.
The suspects did not set out to kill the victims, only steal from them when they passed out, sources said. But they didn’t let the first and second deaths stop them, allegedly.
A man believed to be Zamperoni was captured on surveillance video entering a room at the Kamway Lodge around 5 a.m. on Aug. 18 with Barini, the criminal complaint said.
Around 1:30 p.m. that same day, Barini allegedly was recorded leaving the room, going to grab a garbage can from a nearby alley and re-entering the premises.
She was seen leaving and entering several more times over the next few days, but Zamperoni never appeared again on the video, the complaint said.
After cops in search of the chef showed up Aug. 21 and got inside the room, they smelled the “strong odor” of Zamperoni’s dead body only partially masked by the scent of burning incense, according to the complaint.
“In the corner of the room, law enforcement authorities noticed what appeared to be a garbage can with bed linens stuffed inside and what appeared to be a bare human foot sticking out of the bed linens,” the court paperwork said.
Barini quickly blamed the shocking scene on her pimp, saying “her pimp made her do it and it was not her,” according to the complaint.
Bleach-soaked towels and a power saw were found in the room, according to the complaint. Barini said she discussed with several men whether to cut up Zamperoni’s body, but the corpse was intact.
She told police the chef paid her for sex and consumed liquid ecstasy provided by her unidentified pimp.
Zamperoni passed out, then bled from his nose and mouth and wouldn’t wake up, according to the complaint.
Barini told investigators her pimp “would not let her call the police.”
She appeared in federal court for the Eastern District of New York on Monday afternoon and was arraigned on charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.
She was sporting bleached white and pink hair and sweatpants when she was remanded back into custody on a no-bail hold amid questions about her citizenship status.
Sources said she claims to be a citizen of Canada.
Barini has at least 25 prior arrests dating back to 2001, not including nine sealed arrests, sources said.
Her record includes multiple busts for prostitution and drug possession as well as petty larceny and possession of stolen property, criminal trespass and bail jumping.
Norrele Silvero, the mother of the second alleged victim, attended the hearing and said it was hard to be in the same room with Barini.
“To be very honest with you, it’s still surreal at this point, but it is very difficult for a mom to see this whole event right in front of our faces, and I just hope that it’s just a bad dream,” Silvero said.
“The night before, he said he was hanging out with is friends, and one thing lead to another, and the next day my [other] son just got a phone call from the detective,” she said.
“He was happy at home, he was very happy with his girlfriend, he just had a nephew, a 2-year-old nephew. He was very involved with him, and he has a very nice job that he loved, and he’s just a very happy kid,” she said.
Silvero’s brother and girlfriend were present but did not speak.
Zamperoni’s official cause of death has not yet been determined, a rep for the Medical Examiner said Monday.
An anonymous caller led police to the Kamway Lodge about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. When cops arrived, a naked prostitute ran out of the room screaming, “He’s over there!” sources previously told The News.
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