Separate raids involving Suffolk County and federal law enforcement have led to the take down of multiple drug trafficking rings and the arrest of 18 East End and Huntington Station residents on narcotics and other charges, authorities said Wednesday.
An indictment unsealed Wednesday in Central Islip federal court accused 13 residents of Jamesport, Mastic, Riverhead and Southampton — most of whom are alleged members of the Bloods street gang — with being part of a wide-ranging crack-cocaine ring operating on the East End, federal prosecutors said. Two defendants face charges in state court but were not named in the federal indictment. Three other defendants are at large, officials said.
“The toxic mix of street gangs, drug-dealing and illegal firearms poses a direct threat to the safety of our citizens and our community,” said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a news release. “The Eastern District and our law enforcement partners in the FBI, ATF and Suffolk County will continue to target, penetrate and destroy criminal gangs that inflict addiction, violence and grief on the people of Suffolk County.”
The results of another partnership between Suffolk police officers and federal agents was on display Wednesday in Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead where three Huntington Station residents appeared before a judge to face charges connected to a drug ring operating out of the hamlet.
During the Nov. 2 raid of the Huntington Station home of Adrian Bonilla, 40, an alleged member of the Latin Kings street gang, and his girlfriend, Jennifer Perez Bonilla, 28, Suffolk and federal investigators found a baby in a bassinet near a kilo of cocaine as well as 18 grams of the drug, more than $66,000 in cash, packaging materials and digital scales, said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini at a news conference at the Riverhead courthouse where he announced a 47-count indictment against the couple and a third man.
Bonilla faces charges of operating as a major trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, and other drug-related charges, Sini said. Cordero was charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and other offenses, Sini said. Both were charged with endangering the welfare of child.
Neftali Camacho Hernandez, 27, also of Huntington Station, was charged with second-degree conspiracy, 19 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and other offenses.
Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Martin Efman ordered Bonilla held in lieu of $2 million bail or $4 million bond at his arraignment in Riverhead. Cordero’s bail was $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond. Hernandez was held on $1 million cash bail or $3 million bond. All three pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to return to court Dec. 12. It was not clear Wednesday if they were represented by attorneys.
Bonilla was sentenced to six years in federal prison for running a large-scale cocaine ring in 2016, and was on probation at the time of his arrest, officials said. He and Cordero face up to life in prison if found guilty. Hernandez faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
“This indictment should serve as a warning to drug dealers who operate in Suffolk County that law enforcement is coming for you,” Sini said at the news conference, where Suffolk police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials joined him.
In the East End case, the defendants were taken into custody Wednesday after Suffolk cops and DEA agents executed search warrants at multiple locations, federal and Suffolk authorities said. During the raids, investigators recovered seven firearms, including an AR-15 rifle, three kilograms of cocaine, four pounds of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin and $10,000 in cash, authorities said.
The operation was part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a crime-reduction strategy involving several law enforcement agencies, officials said, with Wednesday’s raids aimed at breaking up several large-scale crack cocaine distribution operations on East End.
Officials did not release a full list of the charges against the 13 defendants, identified as: Tramaine Brown, 29, of Jamesport; Deon Shorter, 22, of Mastic; as well as Riverhead residents Dayna Barrow, 35, Kenneth Belcher, 31, Daniel Harris, 25, Romaine Hopkins, 36, Kotarra Jackson, 36, Terrill Latney, 39, Quandol Lewis, 34, Randy Smith, 33, and Demario Weston, 34. John Gamble, 37, of Shirley, and Matthew Pittma, 43, of Southampton were also charged.
It was unclear Wednesday if any of the defendants had hired or been assigned attorneys. Officials said they were being held pending trial.
“Because of the great collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement, the East End of Long Island is safer,” Sini said. “My office will continue to work tirelessly with all of our law enforcement partners to eradicate violent street gangs from our communities.”
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Some of the individuals who were indicted for allegedly trafficking narcotics throughout Long Island and New York City, on display at a news conference in Hauppauge.
Suffolk authorities say they have indicted 19 people in connection with an alleged drug trafficking ring that operated Island wide and reached into New York City and that has been linked to three fatal overdoses.
The ring is accused of selling heroin, cocaine, crack, opioid pills and other narcotics, authorities said. Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said the suspects in the “multimillion-dollar ring” would sell to dealers, at amounts such as 100 grams at a time, and change their prices depending on the area. They are also accused of manufacturing drugs, including crack cocaine and pills.
The yearlong investigation, called “Operation Moneygram,” is part of an attempt to stem the heroin epidemic ravaging Nassau and Suffolk counties. As part of the effort, there has been increased enforcement and arrests of dealers and suppliers, in conjunction with connecting addicts to treatment.
“It’s critical that we take out these traffickers,” Sini said at a news conference in Hauppauge on Thursday. “We’re going to keep the pressure on.”
Authorities said they seized more than 425 grams of heroin — or 15,000 individual doses with a street value of $150,000 — and took down the ring’s alleged leader, Sheron Davis, 31, of Baldwin, known as “Money Ron.” Davis, the investigation’s main target, allegedly differentiated himself from street dealers, authorities said. He was the ringleader of a network of dealers, to whom he sold narcotics and charged more for drugs in Suffolk County than in Queens, and is believed to be a member of the Bloods gang, officials said.
The bust included search warrants executed in five locations on Monday, among them the ring’s manufacturing and stash house in Hempstead, Davis’ home in Baldwin and another defendant’s home in Freeport. It resulted in the seizure of drugs, a hydraulic kilo press, surveillance equipment, weapons, ammunition, scales and packaging materials, about $4,000 cash, BMWs and a 2018 Toyota Camry with secret compartments typically used to transport narcotics, authorities said.
“We don’t feel that this is a drop in the bucket,” Sini said. “We feel that this is a major case.”
Fourteen of the 19 suspects are in custody and five have yet to be arrested, he said.
The defendants, who officials say include alleged members of the Bloods known as the Nine Trey Gangsters, are each charged with one count of second-degree conspiracy that could result in a maximum sentence of 8⅓ years to 25 years in prison, if convicted, officials said.
“Once we target a drug crew responsible for pushing poison in our hometowns, we put them where they belong and that’s in jail,” said Timothy Flaherty, assistant special agent in charge for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Sini said the investigation began in October last year after police received intelligence on overdoses linked backed to a dealer, who was allegedly supplied by Davis. Sini would not comment further on the three fatal overdoses or whether the defendants would be charged in connection with them. He would say only that two occurred in Suffolk County and one in Nassau.
“It is clear that the world of drug dealing on Long Island is without borders,” he said, adding that the defendants were “out to make a profit without regard for human life.”
The investigation used electronic and physical surveillance.
Law enforcement officials involved in the bust included investigators from the district attorney’s office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the State Police, Nassau and Suffolk police, and Hempstead Village police
The 14 in custody are: Davis; Cesar Julio Diaz Bautista, 31, of Freeport, who allegedly owned the Camry; Charles Davis, 27. known as “Rock,” of Hempstead; Calvin Honegan, 30, known as “.40 Caliber,” of Freeport; David Ortiz, 30, known as “Big Poppy,” of Rockville Centre; Katie Gallagher, 28, of Wantagh; Shawn Daniels, 34, of Hempstead; Quamel Key, 27, known as “Qua” or “Reckless,” of Hempstead; Jhakim Marson, 25, known as “Mula,” of Hempstead; Jeremy McFarland, 30, known as “Germ,” of Baldwin; Tyrik Reese, 29, known as “Freak,” of Freeport; Russell Neiderman, 32, of Freeport; Gerard Lombardo, 27, known as “Bones,” of Farmingdale; and Taiquan Cullum, 29. known as “Ta Ta”, of Hempstead.
Eleven defendants were arraigned Wednesday, officials said. Key and Lombardo were arraigned Thursday. Information about their arraignments was not available through online court records Thursday afternoon and it was not known whether they had retained legal counsel.
One defendant is incarcerated on other charges and has yet to be processed in this case, officials said.
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Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said Wednesday three men have been indicted on charges of selling fentanyl, heroin and cocaine out of the Man Cave barbershop on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. Search warrants led to the seizure of evidence including drugs, packaging equipment and cutting agents, he said. (Credit: James Carbone)
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Three Suffolk County men have been indicted on charges they used a Port Jefferson Station barbershop to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the deadly narcotics fentanyl, heroin and cocaine — even as legitimate customers paid for haircuts, officials said Wednesday.
A 53-count indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges the drug sales, which officials said netted about $50,000 monthly, took place beginning in January at the Man Cave barbershop on Route 112.
While the barbershop provided haircuts to some customers, others were in and out in five minutes after to purchasing drugs, said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini. Authorities did not link any of the narcotics allegedly sold at the barbershop to overdoses, Sini said.
“The Man Cave gave barbershop customers a choice of hair styles and a choice of drugs,” Sini said in Riverhead at a news conference announcing the indictments. “When they should have been focusing on cutting hair, these defendants were in the backroom, cutting fentanyl and cocaine.”
Charged in the indictment was Juan Lopez-Enriquez, 41, of Coram, the manager of the barbershop owned by his wife, who authorities said coordinated the drug sales and also cut hair.
Lopez-Enriquez, who also goes by “Willy”, faces multiple felony counts of possession and sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a firearm, and several counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
Santiago Tavarez, 64, of Rocky Point, who goes by “Jose Rosado” or “Old Man”, and is a barber at the shop, faces multiple felony counts of possession and sale of a controlled substance.
If convicted, Lopez-Enriquez and Tavarez each face a maximum sentence of 8 to 20 years in prison.
Carlos Encarnacion, 33, of Port Jefferson Station, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He faces a maximum sentence of 3 to 10 years in prison, if convicted. Encarnacion also frequented the shop socially, authorities said.
Sini said both Tavarez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic who has a final deportation order against him, and Encarnacion, a Dominican Republic native who overstayed a visitor’s visa, will be subject to deportation procedures.
Lopez-Enriquez and Encarnacion were arrested on Oct. 4. Tavares was arrested Monday.
All three pleaded not guilty at their arraignments. Lopez-Enriquez was ordered held on a $500,000 bond or $200,000 cash bail at his arraignment Wednesday; Encarnacion’s bail was set at $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash. Tavarez was held on $400,000 bond or $200,000 cash bail.
Attorneys for the men could not be reached for comment.
The district attorney’s Heroin Task Force, in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and Suffolk County police, in January and used physical and electronic surveillance, including wiretaps, Sini said.
The men sold about 1 kilogram of narcotics a month, and frequently sold fentanyl to buyers who thought they were getting heroin.
When police executed search warrants on Oct. 4 at the barbershop and other locations, they found a loaded semiautomatic handgun, a box of ammunition cartridges; a hydraulic kilo press; two scales; packaging materials; about 20 grams of cocaine; and about 200 grams of powder cutting agent, which authorities said is used to dilute narcotics to make them more profitable.
Also found was a can with a dog food label. “Sure enough, it’s a hollowed-out can, and paraphernalia, drugs and cash were put in a Kibbles ‘n Bits dog food can,” Sini said.
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August 16, 2018
DA: 16 arrested, including bar employees, in Montauk drug ring bust
A months long investigation that struck at the “heart” of Montauk’s drug scene resulted in 16 arrests, authorities said on Thursday, as well as the seizure of cash and drugs after working cooks and bar-backs sold cocaine, oxycodone and other opioids out of restaurant and bar kitchens.
The drug ring “took advantage of the tourism and commercial activity” during the Montauk summer season and jacked up drug prices by more than double the street value, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said at news conference.
“There’s an indication that several of the defendants were coming to work in Montauk specifically to sell drugs,” Sini said, “using their jobs in the service industry as a cover for their narcotics organization.”
The investigation — led by the DA’s newly-created Special Narcotics Unit with help from East End police departments, Suffolk and state police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration — began in March after area police departments received community complaints. The probe included a wiretap.
Authorities said the five Montauk restaurants are: Swallow East, 668 The Gig Shack, Shagwong Tavern, Liar’s Saloon and O’Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub. Officials said the defendants also received housing from their employers and sold drugs from their residences as well as the back doors of their jobs.
Fifteen of the defendants arrested Wednesday and a 16th apprehended at Shagwong Tavern on Thursday after the news conference face either felony or misdemeanor drug charges, officials said.
On Wednesday, authorities seized roughly $100,000 in cash from five locations as well as about 650 grams of cocaine, marijuana, various pills and drug paraphernalia. Authorities believe the drugs were brought into Suffolk County from in and outside the continental United States.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service had previously seized a package of about 100 pills and another one containing more than $17,460.
The ringleaders are Geraldo Vargas-Munoz, 37, known as “Chelo,” and Elvin Silva-Ruiz, 40, called “Pito”, officials said.
Vargas-Munoz, the top leader, was taken into custody in Queens carrying $10,000 in cash, Sini said. He was charged with felony first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and is accused of arranging the transportation of the drugs and cash, as well as conducting sales himself, for years. Vargas-Munoz, a Swallow East chef, will probably face additional charges, Sini said.
Silva-Ruiz was apprehended Wednesday at Kennedy Airport trying to board an international flight carrying $10,000 in cash with another $7,000 in his luggage. He is charged with felony second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and authorities said he worked at O’Murphy’s. The defendants, along with a third man, William Crespo-Duran, 35, also known as “Flaco”, and charged with felony second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, were arraigned Thursday and held without bail, authorities said.
Ten more defendants were arraigned on either felony or misdemeanor drug charges and offered bail or bond, officials said. Information on the remaining three defendants was not available.
Sini said that while none of the restaurants’ owners have been charged, the investigation is ongoing.
“We are seriously concerned that the businesses knew, or at least some of the businesses knew, exactly what was going on,” he said. “There may be a business incentive to have allowed this to go on. If you can get a steak dinner and a glass of wine and a bag of coke, maybe you can attract more people than if you’re handing out hot dogs and hamburgers.”
Jason Behan, co-owner of Shagwong Tavern, said before the news conference that none of his employees were arrested.
“We are not involved in any kind of conspiracy; we’re involved in selling food, that’s what we do,” Behan said. “There is no drug conspiracy.”
After an employee at the Shagwong Tavern was arrested Thursday afternoon, Larry Kelly, the restaurant’s attorney, said that the tavern would work with law enforcement.
Janice Kordasz, co-owner of O’Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub, said she was “mortified” that her business of 16 years was associated with the bust. She said it involved two of her seasonal employees from out of town who were staying at a nearby apartment building.
Employees don’t typically receive packages at the restaurant, Kordasz said.
“There’s absolutely no connection with my restaurant with any sort of drugs,” she said. “I’m shocked right now, to see that my name was mentioned.”
A man who identified himself as a manager at Swallow East said a lawyer instructed the owner not to speak to the news media.
“Everybody tarnished our name now,” he said of the bust. “We all work really hard and it’s unfortunate.”
The Swallow East attorney declined to comment and no one was available to comment at 668 The Gig Shack and Liar’s Saloon.
Sini said his office was not aware that any of the ring’s narcotics had been linked to overdoses, but added that the drug ring had “hundreds” of buyers, both tourist partygoers and addicts.
“There are going to be a lot of people very upset this weekend,” he said.
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