Every day Louis Carollo made his way to his drug store at 500 Adams Street where he dispensed medicine. Being a druggist doesn’t seem like the most exciting job, but Carollo ended up with quite a few interesting stories to tell.
In December 1914 the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, a Federal law, was passed which instituted the regulation and taxing of the production, importation, and distribution of opiates and coca products. This became a problem for addicts and regular customers alike who had become dependent on the products as medicine - previously there had been no restrictions and drugs such as cocaine were recommended for simple ailments. Four months into the regulations, Carollo’s drug store was broken into. “Crazed drug fiends” as the Jersey Journal called them, broke into the store between midnight and 7 a.m. and stole $500 worth of cocaine, heroin tablets, morphine and other similar compounds. Though the focus was on what was supposed to be “drug fiends,” the closing of the article mentioned that it could be anyone, including regular customers who no longer had access because of the regulations.
It must have been difficult to transition customers to the new regulations, especially during a time when customers usually got to know druggists well. Carollo’s drug store was likely a social place in the 1920s. During that time many druggists who kept up with the latest and greatest in the industry installed a lunch counter and soda fountain. Not only did customers stop in for their medicine, but now they socialized over a soda or lunch at the counter. That was probably the case with one customer, Beatrice Scalzullo.
Beatrice was a young woman of 19 years, who had emigrated from Italy with her parents and lived in Jersey City on Jewett Street. One day she strolled in to Carollo’s shop with a young man, Joseph Crischitelli. Rather than picking up medicine, the two deposited a bottle of liquid with Carollo. A peculiar step in itself, the contents of the bottle were even stranger. There may have been regulations in place about opiates, but one wonders what the regulations would be for retaining a love potion - one made of blood, a strand of hair, and wine.
The potion was part of a plan involving Doctor Salvatore Auriemma. Beatrice Scalzullo had been a patient of his and had fallen in love. From her later testimony, she claimed that he had “wronged her” and promised to marry her. Regardless of what went on behind closed doors, Dr. Auriemma rebuffed her actions publicly. When her advances toward marriage did not work, Beatrice moved to Plan B. Plan B included the love potion dropped off at Carollo’s shop and Joseph Crischitelli who happened to be Dr. Auriemma’s friend. Carollo was instructed to retain the potion until Crischitelli called for it. Once retrieved, Crischitelli was to pour the potion into Dr. Auriemma’s wine or coffee at an opportune moment. Surely this plan would work.
But Plan B never came to fruition. At some point before the love potion plan was put into action Beatrice accused Auriemma of seduction with a promise of marriage. She requested money as retribution, and when that failed she brought him to court. Beatrice’s “trap” as Dr. Auriemma called it, was exposed through court testimony of witnesses to Beatrice’s parents’ threatening that he should marry Beatrice, pay $10,000 in damages, or go to jail. With additional testimony from Louis Carollo, the love potion plan was discovered. Being revealed in court by the defense attorney brought an end to the designs of Beatrice.
One wonders what other stories Louis Carollo carried home to 910 Hudson Street, but it would be surprising if they topped this.
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