02/22/11 2:15pm
02/22/2011 2:15 PM

The lawyer for a Pulaski Street School janitor arrested in connection with an alleged three-man cocaine ring in Riverhead is saying his 41-year-old client was only a bit player in the alleged operation.

“It seems to me that [Troy Trent] was a really low person on the totem pole,” said the attorney, Fred Fisher of Southampton. “He is not what I would call a principal in this alleged drug scheme.”

He said his client, who prosecutors say went by the street name “Troy-T,” is only accused of selling half an ounce of cocaine.

Mr. Trent was arraigned last Wednesday in Suffolk Criminal Court on a second-degree conspiracy charge and was released on $25,000 bail. He was arrested Feb. 4 after an East End Drug Task Force investigation that began in January 2010 and also resulted in the arrests of Joseph “Slick” Gilliam and Ramon “Pamp” Overton.

Prosecutors said Mr. Trent and Mr. Gilliam would supply powdered and crack cocaine to Mr. Overton, whom they described as a street-level dealer. All three men are from Riverhead.

Mr. Trent  has since been barred from all Riverhead School District grounds, school officials said, though he has not been fired.

The investigation did not reveal evidence Mr. Trent sold drugs to students, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, Mr. Overton, 41, allegedly sold crack to an undercover cop four times between January and December 2010, according to a grand jury indictment. A search warrant was executed at Mr. Overton’s Franklin Street home earlier this month, where task force detectives found three 12-gauge pump-action shotguns and a rifle.

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota explained last week that Mr. Overton cannot legally own firearms due to a previous felony conviction.

Detectives also found two ounces of cocaine, a small quantity of crack and scales, officials said.

Mr. Overton pleaded not guilty last Wednesday to second-degree conspiracy, four counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, six counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, four counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia. He was released on $200,000 bond.

Mr. Trent, 41, pleaded not guilty to his conspiracy charge. Mr. Gilliam, 38, also pleaded not guilty to a second-degree conspiracy charge and was being held on $10,000 cash bail or $25,000 bond. Mr. Gilliam’s attorney, Susan Menu of Riverhead, declined to comment Monday, explaining that she had not yet looked over the grand jury indictment.

“Evidence gathered during the investigation established defendants Trent and Gilliam supplied cocaine to Overton who, as the indictment details, was an active street-level crack dealer in Riverhead,” Mr. Spota, whose office oversees the task force, said in a statement. “Surveillance and other evidence established Overton sold crack at locations on Segal Avenue and in public parking lots on Route 58.”

Mr. Spota did not specify in which parking lots on the commercial thoroughfare alleged drug deals took place.

The arrests were not related to the 23 drug and gang related arrests in the Riverhead area announced earlier this month, a spokesman for Mr. Spota said.

vchinese@timesreview.com