A coalition of law enforcement agencies arrested 12 suspects this week and seized more than two kilos of cocaine along with guns, cash and other drugs in Suffolk County after they said a monthslong probe exposed drug trafficking and a conspiracy to traffic firearms.
The investigation began in June as authorities focused on the MS-13 gang’s involvement in the drug trade and included the use of a wiretap and other surveillance methods, Suffolk prosecutors said Thursday.
Law enforcement officers carried out search warrants Wednesday and Thursday at six locations in Brentwood, Bay Shore and Amityville, seizing the cocaine, five guns, more than $25,000 in cash, pills that included methamphetamine and Ecstasy and drug paraphernalia, according to authorities.
Suffolk prosecutors and police teamed with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the investigation, which authorities said also included the arrests in August of two suspects with ties to MS-13 who now face charges related to an alleged murder conspiracy.
“This investigation had many different arcs, with alleged ties to drug dealing, gun trafficking and a murder conspiracy, but law enforcement painstakingly followed each lead and ultimately took down this criminal network,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement.
Drug deals happened in bars and restaurants in the Brentwood and Central Islip areas and also in parking lots in those locations and in Commack, Hauppauge and Bay Shore, according to prosecutors.
On Oct. 14, authorities intercepted a package in Suffolk County with a quarter kilo of cocaine inside it. They have charged that two of the suspects, alleged MS-13 member Leonel Padilla-Hernandez, 30, of Brentwood, and Jonathan Feliciano-Ramos, 27, of Brentwood, led the local drug distribution network while trafficking cocaine from Puerto Rico.
Authorities also identified Mauricio Velasquez, 45, of Brentwood, and Roberto Caro, 51, of Amityville, as being alleged suppliers in the drug network.
The suspects were scheduled for court arraignments Thursday, but information on those proceedings wasn’t immediately available.
“These arrests demonstrate law enforcement’s quick and efficient ability to identify and dismantle this drug trafficking network that is responsible for furthering drug addiction and gun violence in our communities,” DEA local special agent-in-charge Ray Donovan said in a statement Thursday.