Suffolk County authorities said they disrupted two drug distribution networks and arrested 14 people as part of a months-long probe into drugs flooding into the East End.
The East End Drug Task Force executed more than a dozen search warrants since July 14, resulting in the seizure of six kilos of cocaine and heroin, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said.
Three of the 14 people swept up in the busts were either members of or belonged to an offshoot of the Bloods street gang, the DA’s office said.
“Drug dealers and weapons are a deadly combination,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York, in a statement. “We are pleased to have removed several of both off the streets of Suffolk County during these enforcement operations.”
The widening investigation into the pair of drug distribution networks took shape after patrol officers on the East End noticed “a significant upward trend” in heroin and cocaine drug busts beginning last September, the DA’s office said.
Investigators then developed information that led them to focus on a cocaine operation in Riverhead and Southampton.
Arrested as part of the large-scale bust were 36-year-old Corey Woodley of Flanders and 42-year-old Eric Thomas of Riverhead. Both men were allegedly involved in the operation of those two networks, authorities said.
Thomas, who was out on parole, was arrested on July 14 after East End Task Force members executed a search warrant at his home. Investigators said they seized cocaine and more than $4,000 in cash from the house, along with scales and other drug paraphernalia. Thomas is facing several drug-related charges.
The arrests associated with the months-long probe go back several weeks. On July 6, Task Force investigators arrested Ronald Paschall as he was returning to the East End after allegedly picking up more than a kilo of cocaine in New York City, authorities said.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota alleged that Paschall, a purported gang member, traveled west twice a week to pick up cocaine, which he then sold to resellers, who would distribute the drugs to residents in East Hampton, Riverhead, Southampton and Southold Towns.
Paschall’s 38-year-old associate, Jimmy Dean of Baiting Hallow and Dwayne Harris of Riverhead, his accused drug runner, were allegedly responsible for a second distribution ring, Spota said. Paschall, Dean and Harris were also accused of drug crimes and gang affiliation. Paschall was additionally charged with unlawful fleeing from a police officer.
The East End Task Force is a multi-agency drug enforcement unit that includes Suffolk County police, New York State police, village and town police departments, federal agencies and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
DA Spota said there were more arrests to come.