A Wading River man is among five persons arrested by federal and state authorities for his role in a “multi-million-dollar cross-country drug distribution ring operating in Suffolk County,” District Attorney Timothy Sini announced Monday evening.
Along with the arrests, Mr. Sini said authorities seized 19 kilograms of narcotics, $1.5 million in cash and numerous firearms.
“The magnitude of this drug distribution ring is enormous; they were responsible for peddling millions of dollars in narcotics on an almost weekly basis,” Mr. Sini said. “Not only did this organization continue their illicit operation during the coronavirus pandemic, they were also exploiting the limited availability of certain narcotics during the health crisis to generate even greater profits off their sales.
“With this takedown, we’ve put a large-scale drug distribution network out of business and prevented 19 kilograms of narcotics from reaching the streets of Suffolk County,” he added in a release.
He praised members of his Special Narcotics Bureau, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the Suffolk County Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.
In a release, Mr. Sini said his investigation began in May 2019 into the alleged drug dealings of James Sosa, 25, of Wading River, Brian Sullivan, 24, of Lake Grove and a number of associates. The ring purchased narcotics on the West Coast of the U.S. and brought them back to Suffolk County. The methods used for transporting the drugs included “cross country trips in vehicles and airplanes as well as the use of mail carrier services.”
Search warrants were executed in Lake Grove, Wading River, Port Jefferson Station, Coram, Selden and Brentwood. Those searches resulted in the seizure of “16 kilogrms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin, approximately $1.5 million in cash, 4,000 ocycodone pills, nine firearms, and drug paraphernalia, including kilo presses and cutting agents.”
Numerous “luxury” vehicles were also seized.
“This investigation exemplifies how drug traffickers have been impacted by the coronavirus; adapting smuggling methods, transportation routes, and money laundering operations to maintain security and social distancing,” said Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New York Division.
The cocaine seized has an estimated street value of $1.6 million; the heroin an estimated value of $520,000. “However, the resale value of the narcotics once they are processed and mixed with cutting agents is estimated to be more than $4 million,” according to the release.
Those arrested on a variety of felony trafficking and a host of other charges are: Mr. Sosa, of Wading River; Mr. Sullivan, of Lake Grove; Dashawn Jones, 33, of Passaic, N.J.; Anthony Leonardi, 46, of Coram; and Anthony Cyntje, 22, of Passaic.
“If convicted of the top count, Sosa, Sullivan and Jones each face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison; Leonardi faces a maximum sentence of 12 and one-half to 25 years in prison; and Cyntje faces a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison,” according to the release.