Two New York City men have been convicted of leading a heroin dealing operation that distributed mass quantities of the addictive opiate and fed the Long Island drug abuse epidemic.
A Suffolk County found Joel Guzman of Queens and Carlos Melendez of the Bronx guilty Tuesday of operating as major traffickers following eight days of deliberations after an eight-week trial.
“We believe this is one of the first jury verdicts in New York State convicting defendants under the Operating as a Major Trafficker statute passed in 2009,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said. “This valuable law enforcement tool will keep purveyors of poison like Guzman and Melendez off our streets and away from our children for life.”
Defense attorneys for the men reportedly plan to appeal the verdict.
Prosecutors said the kingpins, who were arrested in 2011, led a heroin dealing crew spanning Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and the Bronx, selling heroin to buyers in Sayville, Smithtown, Selden, Sound Beach, Ronkonkoma, East Islip and elsewhere.
Guzman and Melendez face 25 years to life in prison when they’re sentenced July 25.