Suffolk prosecutors charged several men Wednesday with running a cocaine and marijuana trafficking ring in the Mastic-Shirley area.
Assistant District Attorney Dina Cangero identified two men as leaders of the ring: Michael Meurer, 39, of Miller Place, and Johnny Gonzales, 43, of Franklin Square.
Both are charged with operating as a major drug trafficker, Cangero said. Meurer pleaded not guilty Wednesday before Suffolk County Court Judge Stephen Braslow. Gonzales will be arraigned Thursday.
Meurer and another co-defendant, Joselito Colon, 43, of Mastic Beach, were arrested together in a car that had a half-kilogram of cocaine in it, Cangero said. The ring sold a kilogram of cocaine, worth about $100,000, every seven to 10 days, she said.
Meurer is heard on a wiretapped phone conversation bragging that he clears $2,000 a day, Cangero said. In another conversation, she said, he talked about cooking cocaine into crack while his children were out of the house.
She said Colon was Meurer's most trusted associate and reseller, and that he was present for every meeting with Gonzales, their supplier, who was arrested Aug. 20.
"The case is greatly over-exaggerated by the district attorney's office," said Meurer's lawyer, Robert Macedonio of Central Islip. "He's a family man." Macedonio said no drugs or cash were seized at his client's house.
Colon's attorney, Donald Mates Jr. of Hauppauge, said his client "categorically denies" the charges. He is charged with second-degree conspiracy and first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Braslow set bail for him at $1.5 million cash or bond.
Meurer also was charged with second-degree conspiracy and first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Braslow set bail at $1 million cash or $2 million bond.