Bay Shore man gets maximum sentence for DWI crash that killed father of 4

Bay Shore man gets maximum sentence for DWI crash that killed father of 4

Fernando Ramirez Jr. arriving in court in a

Fernando Ramirez Jr. arriving in court in a wheelchair in a photograph provided by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office


A drunken driver from Bay Shore who killed a father of four in a crash and then tried to fake his own injuries to avoid responsibility, was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Fernando Ramirez Jr., 34, who prosecutors said was intoxicated at more than twice the legal limit of 0.08% and was under the influence of marijuana, was sentenced for the Nov. 27, 2017 crash that killed Daniel Granados, 31, of Central Islip.

A jury found Ramirez guilty in April of three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and other charges.

Ramirez, who broke both his legs in the crash, also claimed to have suffered traumatic brain injury and showed up to various court proceedings appearing comatose in a wheelchair and drooling, in what prosecutors alleged was a rouse to be declared unfit for trial.

But investigators from the district attorney’s office got surveillance video of Ramirez loading his own wheelchair into his car before his arrival at court. A neurological report later indicated that Ramirez showed signs of “feigned cognitive impairment,” the DA’s office said.

“This is a defendant who killed a father of four young children and injured two other victims, but instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he tried to convince the Court that he was unfit for trial,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement. “His behavior throughout this case was an insult to the victims and their families who were truly suffering.”

Ramirez was drinking at a Dave & Buster’s in Islandia before getting into a 2008 Subaru eastbound on the Long Island Expressway service road in Hauppauge, authorities have said. At 3:20 a.m., Ramirez ran a red light at the intersection of the service road and Route 111 and struck a red 1997 Ford F150. The vehicles then collided with a blue 2004 Infiniti G35 that was traveling northbound on Route 111.

Granados, a passenger in the Ford, was pronounced dead at the scene, The driver of the Ford suffered serious physical injuries, while the driver of the Infiniti was treated for minor injuries.

Ramirez’s attorney Christopher Brocato said his client’s pre-sentencing report unfairly represented Ramirez by quoting him saying he was upset by how the crash had hurt himself and his family, but didn’t mention his feelings about the victims.

“He was always extremely remorseful,” said Brocato. “He never wanted to take this to trial, but when the offer [from prosecutors] is the maximum, it’s malpractice for me to take the maximum. He was always remorseful; he was always cognizant of the fact that he killed someone with four children. Many times he was in tears in my office over what happened.”

Brocato, who did not represent Ramirez at the time he was accused of faking his injuries, declined to comment on that aspect of the case. Brocato said Ramirez appeared lucid during his trial.

“As far as I’m concerned, he communicated with me during the trial and I didn’t have any issue,” Brocato said.

Ramirez will be up for parole after serving 12 ½ years, Brocato said.

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Eight companies to pay $627,000 for illegal Brentwood dumping, AG says


Eight construction contractors, waste brokers and haulers have agreed to pay more than $600,000 in civil penalties for dumping tons of contaminated waste in Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood in 2013 and 2014, State Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday.

The illegal dumping, which forced the closure of the public park for more than three years as 39,000 tons of hazardous construction waste was removed, victimized a community that has a high number of Black and Hispanic residents, James said.

“This is not just an environmental issue,” James said at a news conference at the park. “It’s a health issue. It’s also an issue of injustice. Quite simply an issue of environmental racism. And it puts communities and children and our natural resources in harm’s way, from the air that we breathe to the water that we all enjoy to the communities that we all live in.”

The $627,000 in penalties — which must be still be approved by the courts — will be used to improve Roberto Clemente Park and other public facilities in the Brentwood community. Islip Town residents, community groups and elected officials will identify priorities for the funds, James said.

Then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit in 2017 against 33 companies and individuals that arranged for the dumping of soil and construction and demolition debris to the Brentwood park from construction sites primarily in New York City. The fill contained asbestos, heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

The state has sought damages for the community’s lost use of the park when it was closed for cleanup.

Legal actions against 25 other companies and individuals named in the federal suit are ongoing, James said. Funds obtained through that litigation also will be directed toward enhancing parks in Brentwood.

State investigators used GPS records obtained from Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini’s office to track truckloads of debris back to 13 construction sites, primarily in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk.

“For years, the local residents of this community were robbed of a safe space for the children to play in the outdoors,” said Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood). “All because of the abhorrent actions of the companies who gave no thought to putting profits ahead of the health of Brentwood families.”

Legis. Samuel Gonzalez (D-Brentwood) said he’s worried about his children, grandchildren and other community youth, who played in the park at the time of the illegal dumping.

“We will not find out if they’ve been affected for some years,” Gonzalez said.

The companies settling with the state included two waste brokers — IEV Trucking Corp. in Bay Shore, which has agreed to pay $175,000, and COD Services Corp. in Manhasset, which will pay $20,000. The Town of Islip separately settled with IEV for $125,000 and COD for $20,000, officials said.

Six other construction contractors, James said, arranged for the disposal of the soil and debris.

They include Touchstone Homes LLC of Great Neck, which will pay $175,000; Triton Construction Co. LLC of Manhattan, which will pay $108,505, and Atria Builders LLC of Flushing, which will pay the state $90,000. Three other companies — Monaco Construction Corp. of Brooklyn, Alef Construction Inc. of Brooklyn and 158 Franklin Ave. LLC of Brooklyn — will pay a combined $58,439, James said.

The companies, which operated independently, will not face criminal liability for the dumping, James said. Sini’s office has criminally charged dozens of other individuals and companies with illegally disposing of contaminated waste across the county, including in Brentwood.

Newsday left messages or was unable to reach all eight companies. There were no responses.

In 2018, a special grand jury, empaneled by Sini to study illegal dumping, found there were no laws specifically targeting the illegal acceptance, disposal or possession of construction and demolition material. Last year, state lawmakers passed bills that designate as felonies illegally dumping construction debris or participating in a dumping scheme.

“For far too long, companies and other bad actors thought they could dump contaminated material and other waste in our neighborhoods,” Sini said. “But not any longer.”


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Suffolk DA: 12 on East End charged in sale of illegal drugs

Suffolk DA: 12 on East End charged in sale of illegal drugs

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The Suffolk District Attorney’s Office of Friday announced the indictment of 12 people on the East End in connection with the sale of illegal drugs. Two of those charged in the cocaine operation are 18th Street gang members and another belongs to the Sureños gang, the district attorney’s office said.

Twelve people on Long Island’s East End have been indicted in connection with the sale of illegal drugs, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

The drugs included cocaine and crack cocaine, allegedly sold to hundreds of buyers, chiefly in the Riverhead area, but also in the Hamptons and in the Town of Brookhaven, according to a news release from the office of the district attorney, Timothy Sini.

Sini spokeswoman Sheila Kelly said that at court late this week four of the defendants were ordered held on $1 million bond, two were jailed pending future proceedings and three were freed without bail.

The defendants’ attorneys could not be immediately reached.   Three of the defendants have not yet been caught, according to Kelly.

The charges vary among defendants, but among the most serious charges some are facing is operating as a major trafficker. The basis for that charge includes being a “director of a controlled substance organization” and drug selling at least one time over a year or less, worth at least $75,000 in total, according to an indictment in the case.

Other charges include criminal conspiracy, drug sale and drug possession.

The case, based on undercover officers, “roving” surveillance, electronic surveillance and eavesdropping, began in July, and was aimed at allegations of drug sales by the 18th Street gang, the release said.

Two of those indicted are 18th Street gang members and another belongs to the Sureños gang, the release said, although it did not say why the government believes the people are in gangs.

The 18th Street gang, a rival on Long Island of the street gang MS-13, traces its roots to Los Angeles in the 1980s. It splintered to Central America in the mid-1990s during a wave of deportations by the U.S. government and trickled back to the United States, and to Long Island in particular, as migrants came to the area to fill the labor market and a “a really, really small number” were in, or joined, street gangs, according to David Brotherton, a John Jay College professor and author of “Gangs and Society: Alternative Perspectives” and “The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation: Street Politics and the Transformation of a New York City Gang.”

The 18th Street gang is one of six or seven major street gangs on Long Island, he said.

The Sureños (Spanish for “Southerners”) are a group of Mexican American street gangs with origins in Southern California, according to a gang-recognition guide by the Everett Police Department in the state of Washington.

On Long Island, the investigation resulting in the indictment involved the Suffolk police force, along with town and village counterparts and the federal government.

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Suffolk DA Sini warns of illicit substances pressed to look like prescription pills

Suffolk DA Sini warns of illicit substances pressed to look like prescription pills

  1. undefinedSuffolk DA Sini warns of illicit substances pressed to look like prescription pills

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini on Sunday announced that fake pills have been found being peddled on the street by drug dealers. The pills were made to look identical to Adderall but were actually methamphetamine. Newsday’s Steve Langford has the story. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman; Photo Credit: Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

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Sini: Mastic Beach man raped underage girl he met on social media


A Mastic Beach man was indicted Thursday on multiple charges of raping an underage girl he befriended on the social-media forum Snapchat, authorities said.

Renato Oliva Garcia, 22, faces charges of first- and second-degree rape as well as first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of the child, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said in a statement.

Oliva Garcia had a virtual arraignment Thursday, prosecutors said. His bail was set at $50,000 cash, $100,000 bond, or $150,000 partially-secured bond. Oliva Garcia had not posted bail as of Thursday afternoon, according to court records. A temporary order of protection was also issued in the case, records said.

His defense attorney Luigi Belcastro, whose office is in Central Islip, could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.

Sini said Oliva Garcia made sexual contact with the victim at his home on March 15 after picking the child up near her home. Oliva Garcia spoke with the girl on Snapchat for several weeks before setting up a face-to-face meeting, prosecutors said.

Earlier in March, Sini said, the Mastic Beach man picked up the girl outside her home. He then took the girl back to his home and later dropped her off at school, Sini said, adding that Oliva Garcia groomed his victim over the social-media platform. Suffolk police arrested him on March 17, prosecutors said.

The indictment should serve as a warning for parents to be hyper-aware of who their children communicate with online, Sini said.

“This is a very concerning trend law enforcement is seeing where alleged predators are able to communicate with minors through social media and gain their trust before convincing them to meet in person,” Sini said. “As parents, we all need to stay vigilant in monitoring our children’s social media usage and talking to them about internet safety. Should any child in Suffolk County be preyed upon and victimized by someone they meet online, rest assured my Office will prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”

If convicted on the first-degree rape charge, Oliva Garcia could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison, Sini said.

Oliva Garcia is scheduled to return to court April 27, officials said.

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DA: Riverhead man charged with sexual assault on minor in store parking lot

DA: Riverhead man charged with sexual assault on minor in store parking lot

A Riverhead man restrained a minor with duct tape and sexually assaulted her in minivan parked in a retail store lot earlier this month, Suffolk County prosecutors said.

A grand jury indictment, released Wednesday in Central Islip, charged Jose Samuel Carabantes Pineda, 35, with sexually abusing the child on multiple occasions since the fall of 2020.

Carabantes Pineda was charged with predatory sexual assault against a child; two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act; first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child.

Suffolk County Acting Supreme Court Justice Chris Ann Kelley Wednesday remanded Carabantes Pineda without bail.

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini Credit: Howard Schnapp

If convicted of the top count, Carabantes Pineda faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

“This individual allegedly subjected a child to months of sexual abuse,” said Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini. “Thanks to the bravery of the victim, the heroic act of the Good Samaritan who intervened, and the swift actions of the Riverhead Town Police Department, this alleged predator was apprehended. ”

Carabantes Pineda is being represented by the Legal Aid Society, which does not comment on criminal cases. He is due back in court on April 13.

On March 20, Carabantes Pineda drove the victim to the parking lot of the Big Lots store in Riverhead, restrained her with duct tape in the back of his minivan and sexually assaulted the girl, prosecutors said.

A bystander heard screaming coming from the vehicle and knocked on the windows, prosecutors said. Carabantes Pineda then moved into the driver’s seat and drove away, authorities said.

The bystander called 911, provided details about the vehicle to authorities and attempted to follow the minivan, prosecutors said.

Carabantes Pineda returned to his home, forced the victim into a different vehicle and drove around while telling her what she should say to authorities if they were called, officials said.

When they arrived back at his house, Riverhead Town Police were on the scene and arrested Carabantes Pineda.

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