02/12/15 8:00am
02/12/2015 8:00 AM
Police raid 29 Lewis Street in the Millbrook Gables section of Riverhead Nov. 13. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Police raid 29 Lewis Street in the Millbrook Gables section of Riverhead Nov. 5. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Four children were living in the Oakland Drive North home when a team of police, including K-9 units, came looking for Darius Strong last Wednesday and hauled the 35-year-old off in handcuffs.

The police, working with the East End Drug Task Force, also found heroin, cocaine, oxycodone pills, ammunition and a loaded 9 mm pistol in the raid. The ammo was found in a child’s room, not too far from the unsecured handgun, said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

“I don’t know what could have happened if one of those kids got that gun,” he said.

“The ammunition was in one of the boys’ bedrooms,” further explained a high-ranking officer in the task force, who asked that his name not be printed due to the sensitivity of his investigative work. “The gun was outside the bedroom, in a closet crawl space.”

Mr. Strong, an ex-con who had just gotten off parole, is now facing a slew of drugs, weapons and child endangerment charges. His lawyer declined to comment for this story.

His arrest is the latest in an East End Drug Task Force investigation that stretches back to May 2013 and has netted over a dozen arrests thus far — with more expected.  (more…)

05/16/13 8:33pm
05/16/2013 8:33 PM
WITNESS COURTESY PHOTO | Police storm a work van during Tuesday's drug bust outside Laundry Palace near Route 58 in Riverhead.

COURTESY PHOTO | Police storm a work van during Tuesday’s drug bust outside Laundry Palace on Harrison Avenue near Route 58 in Riverhead.

East End Drug Task Force officers arrested two men on heroin and cocaine charges during a drug bust at a Riverhead laundromat Tuesday evening, police said.

Michael Bale, 47, of Aquebogue, and James Liggon, 56, of Shirley, were pulled from a van and arrested about 6:45 p.m. outside Laundry Palace on Harrison Avenue near Route 58, according to police and witness reports.

A witness to the bust, who asked that he not be identified, described the drama that occurred in the laundromat parking lot.

“I was loading my laundry into the car and an undercover officer came up to the van [the suspects were in] and knocked on the door,” the witness said. “Four cop cars came in and surrounded [the driver] from both sides of the parking lot,”

“They got the guy out of the van asked him, ‘Where the are drugs?’” he continued. “And nothing was said, that I heard.”

Mr. Liggon is being charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for selling heroin, town police said.

He is also charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after being found with more than 500 milligrams of cocaine; and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for having heroin, police said.

Mr. Bale is being charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after being found with both heroin and cocaine, according to a report. He was also charged with third-degree burglary in connection with a prior incident for breaking into a barn, forcing a door open and removing tools in March, police said.

The two men were arraigned Wednesday morning and are being held without bail, police said.

Both men are due back in court Monday, police said.

The witness reported it was a Mastercraft Painting and Power Washing van that police targeted. The van is also visible in a short video the witnesses provided to the newspaper that was not published.

Representatives for the company were not available for comment.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s East End Drug Task Force comprises police from across East End police departments and the DA’s office.

cmiller@timesreview.com