Accused Holtsville heroin dealers held on bail
A Holtsville couple ran a heroin enterprise for at least a year out of the home they shared with up to 10 children until it was broken last month, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Wednesday.
Kelly Mullen, 27, and her husband, Aaron Smith, 57, ran the drug ring from their Holtsville home, which served as the "main distribution point" for pickups by dealers from Holbrook and at least six other Suffolk communities, authorities said.
"They participated, they encouraged and they sold to addicts whose lives were being destroyed . . . " Spota said at a news conference. "They destroyed the lives of the families of these addicts, and, of course, the people of Suffolk County were also suffering."
The couple were among 13 defendants from Long Island and one from Brooklyn indicted last week as part of two separate heroin rings supplying Suffolk, prosecutors said. Six others were charged in connection with the Holtsville ring.
Amid the busy heroin operation at the home were Mullen's children -- two boys and two girls, ranging in age from 2 to 13, authorities said. Her sister's six children -- ranging in age from 3 months to 15 years -- also lived there at least during February and March, authorities said, adding that as many as five dealers came to the home daily. The children were in the custody of relatives Wednesday.
The sister, April Mullen, 33, of Central Islip was arraigned Wednesday in connection with the Holtsville ring on charges including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She pleaded not guilty and was held on $500,000 cash bail, $1 million bond. Her 3-month-old daughter was born addicted to heroin and treated at a hospital before living with her aunt and uncle, Spota said.
When authorities broke up the ring on March 9, "there were bags of heroin scattered about, including heroin left next to the crib of [Kelly] Mullen and Smith's daughter," Spota said.
Kelly Mullen, Smith and Miguel Vicente, 32, the Brooklyn resident who allegedly supplied heroin to the couple and the smaller operation, were arraigned Wednesday at Suffolk County Court, Riverhead.
Charges against Mullen, Smith and Vicente include operating as a major trafficker, first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy -- all felonies in the 37-count indictment.
Each pleaded not guilty and is scheduled back in court May 9.
Mullen was held on $1 million cash bail, or $2 million bond. Smith's bail was $1 million cash, or $3 million bond. Vicente was held on $2.5 million cash bail, or $7.5 million secured bond.
"We look forward to contesting any evidence they say they have against him," said Smith's attorney, George H. Duncan.
Kelly Mullen's attorney, Jonathan Manley, said his client is a loving mother and would never hurt her children.
Vicente's attorney, Lance Lazzaro, said the Brooklyn man maintains "that he had no involvement whatsoever."
Prosecutors said the Holtsville ring moved heroin from Brooklyn into Suffolk during a 38-day period captured on a wiretap between February and March. Spota estimated that in a year, close to 360,000 bags of heroin were sold at the Cherry Avenue home with a street value of more than $3 million.
Authorities determined that during the wiretap, Kelly Mullen and a co-defendant purchased 21,000 bags of heroin from Vicente in Brooklyn. Smith would resell the narcotics to dealers for about $10 per bag, prosecutors said.
With John Valenti