04/22/15 8:00am
04/22/2015 8:00 AM
Police raid 29 Lewis Street in the Millbrook Gables section of Riverhead Nov. 5. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

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

A Mastic woman with ties to Riverhead has been sentenced to 1 1/2 to 3 years in jail after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge stemming from an East End Drugs Task Force bust earlier this year.  (more…)

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…)

02/12/15 7:59am
The house at 29 Lewis Street remains boarded up three months after the raid. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The house at 29 Lewis Street remains boarded up three months after the raid. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Breaking up an open-air drug market might spell relief for the afflicted neighborhood, but it is nothing like ridding a country of an occupying foreign force.

The relief is only temporary, especially in low-income areas.

As long as there are jobless high school dropouts, there will be more gang members and drug dealers ready to take the place of those serving time upstate. Indeed, it seems as if every two to three years the district attorney announces another big bust of a group of people ferrying illegal narcotics from NYC to Riverhead.  (more…)

01/20/15 4:00pm
01/20/2015 4:00 PM
Melanie Stafford speaks at a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (far right), state Senator John Flanagan (second from right) and family members of hit-and-run victims. Ms. Stafford's uncle was killed in 2012 while crossing the street in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Melanie Stafford speaks at a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (far right), state Senator John Flanagan (second from right) and family members of hit-and-run victims. Ms. Stafford’s uncle was killed in 2012 while crossing the street in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and the families of hit-and-run victims are calling on state lawmakers to increase penalties for those convicted of fleeing the scene of a fatal accident.

Mr. Spota and members of several families, including a relative of Scott Wayte — the Brookhaven man who was struck and killed in 2012 while crossing East Main Street in downtown Riverhead — held a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday, saying they want the state to increase the maxiumn sentence for fatal hit-and-run crimes from seven years to 15 years in prison.  (more…)

11/21/14 10:00am
11/21/2014 10:00 AM
(File photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

Police chiefs and other top brass from agencies across the East End met this week to share information with one another on local gang activities during a meeting called by the Suffolk County District Attorney.

The three-hour meeting in Riverside Wednesday follows last month’s gang shooting in a residential area of Southold, after which now five alleged members of MS-13 attacked two men from a rival gang with guns and a machete.

That incident, followed by much local and regional media coverage, has brought attention to the growing problem of gangs on the East End. (more…)

04/02/14 2:31pm
04/02/2014 2:31 PM
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota holds up a bag of heroin seized during a drug raid that busted an alleged heroin network. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota holds up a bag of heroin seized during a drug raid that busted an alleged heroin network during a press conference Wednesday morning. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A Riverhead woman is one of 14 people accused of dealing heroin in a network of drug rings that pumped about $3.6 million worth of drugs into Suffolk County, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

“This is probably one of the most prolific operations [we] have seen in many, many a year,” Mr. Spota said at a press conference Wednesday morning. (more…)