Suffolk County authorities said they rounded up 19 suspects in an alleged cocaine dealing ring, including six suspects accused of trafficking kilograms of the drug and masking their dealing in legitimate businesses.
The probe started after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations agents found 20 kilos of cocaine prepared for delivery to one of the alleged dealers’ homes on Long Island during an investigation in California last year, authorities said.
“Many of those arrested in this sweep, like Juan Funes of Amityville, who ran a house cleaning business, hid behind legitimate employment,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said.
The other suspects are from Copiague, West Babylon, Babylon, Lindenhurst, Bayport, Bay Shore, Huntington and Bellrose, Queens.
They include owners of a delicatessen, a gutter business and a construction business as well as Funes’ insurance agent, a taxi driver, a house painter, a landscaper, a day trader and an optical lens maker, prosecutors noted.
While executing search warrants, investigators seized cash, 19 handguns, an assault rifle, 14 other rifles, five shotguns, cocaine packaging materials, kilograms of cocaine and marijuana, authorities added.
Funes was one of six men indicted on charges of operating as a major drug trafficker. He pleaded not guilty last month to that charge and a count of conspiracy. His bail was set at $500,000 and he is due back in court next month.