02/19/14 2:15pm
02/19/2014 2:15 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | District attorney Thomas Spota points to the suspects arrested in a heroin trafficking ring at a press conference Wednesday.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | District attorney Thomas Spota points to the suspects arrested in a heroin trafficking ring at a press conference Wednesday.

A collaboration between police forces has broken up a massive heroin ring that ferried a “pure, strong and very sought-after” brand of the drug to Riverhead from East Harlem, authorities said.  (more…)

02/18/14 10:19pm
02/18/2014 10:19 PM
(File photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. (File photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota is expected to announce details tomorrow about an East End Drug Task Force bust involving five Riverhead men dealing heroin stamped with the word “Hollywood,” according to a press release.

(more…)

11/26/13 9:35am
11/26/2013 9:35 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Faustino Juarez Jr was arrested last Friday by the East End Drug Task Force

COURTESY PHOTO | Faustino Juarez Jr was arrested last Friday by the East End Drug Task Force

District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office released more details on the case of an alleged “substantial” drug dealer Tuesday morning, saying the Flanders man who was arrested last Friday at his home on Riverside Avenue possessed 400 grams of cocaine, a bundle of heroin, over $20,000 in cash, and a pair of handguns when the East End Drug Task Force raided the home last week.

According to Mr. Spota, 30-year-old Faustino Juarez Jr. had already served time for attempted possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance —  all on separate occasions.

He was last incarcerated from April 2010 to April 2012 before finishing his parole supervision earlier this year.

The DA described Mr. Juarez as a “very active drug dealer in the community, a defendant with an extensive criminal history who had a loaded weapon and another handgun in his house.”

Mr. Juarez was arrested by members of the East End Drug Task Force – a multi-jurisdictional investigative unit that include detectives from several departments and agencies on town, county and state levels.

“The task force entered 63 Riverside Drive and secured the cocaine, arrested the suspect and found the handguns, a .9 millimeter and a loaded .32 revolver and one bundle of heroin,” Mr. Spota said. “That’s one gram of heroin divided in 10 bags and packaged for street sale.”

Mr. Juarez’ case is currently being reviewed by a grand jury.

He was initially charged last week with three counts of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of weapons possession, one count of misdemeanor drug possession and two counts of using drug paraphernalia as a result of the bust, according to the report.

Mr. Juarez was also charged with five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in relation to five separate incidents dating back to February, including a class A1 felony for distributing more than 2 oz. of drugs, police said.

Mr. Spota said on Tuesday morning that Mr. Juarez has pleaded not guilty and is being held at county jail without bail.

11/25/13 12:34pm
11/25/2013 12:34 PM

A 30-year-old Flanders man described by police as a “substantial” narcotics dealer in Southampton Town is facing more than a dozen drug and weapons charges after he was arrested in an East End Drugs Task Force bust Friday.

Faustino Juarez Jr. is being held without bail at Suffolk County jail following the raid, where police discovered a “large quantity” of cocaine and heroin at his home on Riverside Avenue just after 6 a.m., authorities said.

The search warrant, part of a months-long investigation into Mr. Juarez, also turned up cash, drug paraphernalia and two handguns, according to a three-page long Southampton Town arrest report.

Mr. Juarez was charged with three counts of felony criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of weapons possession, one count of misdemeanor drug possession and two counts of using drug paraphernalia as a result of the bust, according to the report.

Mr. Juarez was also charged with five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance over five separate incidents dating back to February, including a class A1 felony for distributing more than 2 oz. of drugs, police said.

The man — whose occupation was listed as “narcotics dealer” in the report — was arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court following his arrest. He is due back in court on Sept. 27.

Check back with the Riverhead News-Review as more information becomes available.

psquire@timesreview.com

FILE PHOTO

FILE PHOTO

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

04/18/13 7:02am
04/18/2013 7:02 AM
Robert Love (inset) has pleaded guilty to

DA PHOTO | Robert Love (inset) has pleaded guilty to charges related to a drug trafficking ring.

The Riverhead ex-con who helped run a sophisticated cocaine ring between New York City and Riverhead has pleaded guilty to felony drug and conspiracy charges for his role in the drug-smuggling operation, according to court records.

Robert Love, 59, copped to second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class A felony, and third-degree conspiracy, a class D felony, during a Wednesday court appearance, records show.

Mr. Love and his alleged co-conspirators — identified by authorities as Miguel Matos, 45, and Radames “Ray” Melendez, 22, both of the Bronx — ferried more than three kilos of drugs a week on average to the East End using hidden compartments in three vehicles to transport the drugs, authorities have said.

Mr. Love received about a kilo of cocaine, worth roughly $37,000 each, every other day, said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. He then broke the kilos into gram-sized pieces and sold them in Riverhead, Greenport, Flanders and Southampton for $50 and $60 a gram.

Authorities said the cocaine operation was one of the largest in East End history.

Mr. Love was on parole while he operated the ring, after being previously convicted of cocaine sale and possession.

He was released from prison in December 2009, but was arrested with the other two Bronx men on June 13 by Riverhead Town police.

Mr. Love tried to flee police and threw a kilo of cocaine over a fence when police arrested him at his Riverhead home, authorities said after the arrest.

The drug charge to which Mr. Love pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for a second-time offender, and he faces up to seven years in prison for the conspiracy charge. He will be sentenced May 24, court records show. He is currently being held at the Suffolk County jail on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail for sentencing.

Mr. Matos, whom officials identified as a “major player” in the drug world and the mastermind behind the operation, is being held on $2 million bond or $1 million cash bail and is due in court on April 30.

psquire@timesreivew.com

03/08/13 10:59am
03/08/2013 10:59 AM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO |  Police arrested Victoria Reyes, 26, and her boyfriend, James Leggon Jr., at the couple's Oakland Drive North home.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Police arrested Victoria Reyes, 26, and her boyfriend, James Leggon Jr., at the couple’s Oakland Drive North home.

A man and woman are each being held on $50,000 bail after answering to a slew of drugs and weapons charges Friday in Riverhead Justice Court.

Riverhead Justice Court

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | James Leggon Jr. is escorted to Riverhead Justice Court Friday.

James Leggon Jr., 39, and Victoria Reyes, 26, of Oakland Drive North were arrested at 8:20 p.m. Thursday after Riverhead police and members of the district attorney’s East End Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at their home with the help of a K9 unit, authorities said.

The couple is also facing child endangerment charges, as their 1- and 2-year-old girls and 4-year-old boy were found to be living in unsanitary conditions in the house, prosecutors said in court.

There was a dog on premises that was “allowed to defecate in bedroom and throughout the residence,” according to court records.

Police also found metal knuckles, cocaine and marijuana, officials said.

“Why is my boyfriend being charged if I’m confessing?” Ms. Reyes, who is unemployed, asked the judge Friday. The judge advised her not to speak until she retains a lawyer.

Neither suspect entered a plea. Lawyers will be assigned to them for future court appearances, officials said.

Ms. Reyes was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Mr. Leggon is facing the same charges, as well as an an upgraded, third-degree weapons charge because he was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance in October 2010, the records show.

cmiller@timesreview.com

02/26/13 2:00pm
02/26/2013 2:00 PM

A 41-year-old man was arrested in Riverhead last week after East End Drug Task Force members conducted an early morning raid at a Segal Avenue residence, authorities said.

Michael James was arrested about 6 a.m. Friday at 70 Segal Avenue on six charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, three of which are felony charges, Riverhead Town police said.

He was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all felony charges, police said.

He was also charged with three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanors, along with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Mr. Jones is being held without bail and is due back in Riverhead Justice Court Wednesday.

No other details on the arrest were immediately available from police.

The East End Drug Task Force was formed in 1988 and uses undercover officers from town and village police departments from Suffolk five East End towns, along with officers from the state, county, and sheriff departments, to investigate narcotics cases.


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