Suffolk County police leaders said Saturday that they have begun refocusing the department’s drug enforcement efforts on shutting down “drug houses” nestled in residential neighborhoods, in a campaign to combat rising opioid addiction on Long Island.
Acting Police Commissioner Tim Sini said at a news conference that “special operations teams” at the department’s seven precincts have begun executing search warrants at homes flagged by residents as suspected hubs of the narcotics trade.
Early Friday, in the most recent bust, police said they arrested a father and son accused of operating a Coram drug house, seizing about $60,000 worth of narcotics and $200,000 in cash.
“Everyone seems to be aware of a drug house in their neighborhood,” Sini said. “And this crosses socioeconomic barriers. This is low-income areas to very high-income areas.”
He said the campaign, which began in late December, would decentralize drug enforcement from police headquarters, where detectives have been focused on high-level drug dealers, to individual precincts.
“They’re closer to the ground,” Sini said of the precinct officers. “They know what’s going on in their precincts; they know what’s going on in their communities. This will be fueled by constituent complaints, by resident complaints, by intelligence that’s gathered in the communities.”
He said the department may reassign narcotics officers to the precincts but would work with federal investigators to ensure attention on high-level dealers does not wane.
Sini said the strategy was one piece of a “comprehensive narcotics initiative” he would outline in the next few days, which he said would address both addiction and drug-related crime.
Since the campaign began, police have executed nine search warrants and seized 2,672 grams of cocaine, 464 grams of heroin, 80 grams of oxycodone, seven guns and about $300,000 in cash, he said.
Suffolk police said a warrant executed early Friday at a residence on Avalon Pines Drive in Coram uncovered 730 grams of cocaine, 318 grams of heroin, 36 grams of oxycodone and $200,000.
Police arrested Joseph Fearon, 40, and his son, Jasheme Fearon, 23. Both men had prior felony convictions and were scheduled to be arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Central Islip, police said.
Joseph Fearon, who lived at the Avalon Pines Drive home, was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia.
Jasheme Fearon, 23, of Wilson Avenue, Middle Island, was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree criminal impersonation.
Joseph Fearon was held at the Suffolk County Jail in Yaphank on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail on Saturday. Jasheme Fearon was in court Saturday afternoon, a jail official said. Plea information was not immediately available.
Suffolk Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who joined Sini at the news conference, urged county residents to report suspected drug houses to police.
“The most important message here today for our constituents: If you see something, say something,” she said.