More than a dozen people, several of them members of the Bloods street gang, have been charged over the past five weeks with distributing heroin and cocaine on the East End, Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said Tuesday.
Spota announced at a news conference the arrests of 14 people by the East End Drug Task Force and promised about 40 more to come.
“They may think they’re going to get away,” Spota said from behind a table topped with drugs, cash and guns. “They’re not going to get away. We’re going to get them.”
The cocaine was sold in all the East End towns, Spota said, but primarily Riverhead and Southampton. Heroin was also sold as far west as Port Jefferson, he said. Police seized about 6 kilograms of drugs while executing search warrants, he said.
“It is quite shocking,” Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said at the news conference. “I hear a lot about heroin and know it’s getting into schools and communities.”
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter embraced Spota and called him a “great friend of the East End.”
Spota identified Cory Woodley, 36, of Riverhead, as the man behind the cocaine ring. The district attorney said Woodley and others bought about a kilogram of cocaine a month in New Jersey and Westchester County and resold it in eastern Suffolk. He is charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
He was arrested June 14 while returning from New Jersey in a car that had more than a kilogram of cocaine in it, Spota said.
Spota said Ronald Paschall, 42, of Riverhead, was behind the related heroin distribution ring. He picked up drugs twice a week in New York City and Yonkers and brought them to the East End to resell, Spota said.
Paschall was arrested July 6 after picking up 1.5 kilograms of heroin in New York City, Spota said. He is now charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and traffic infractions.
Prosecutors hope to charge Woodley, Paschall and other dealers already arrested with operating as a major trafficker, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in prison.
Woodley’s attorney, Keith O’Halloran of Westhampton Beach, said he was unaware of the possibility of increased charges for his client. He said his client was arrested in a car that he wasn’t driving and didn’t own and had nothing to do with drugs found in that car.
“We’re denying any of these allegations,” O’Halloran said.
Paschall’s attorney, William Keahon of Hauppauge, did not respond to requests for comment.
Both rings made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling drugs to addicts, Spota said. During the news conference, he demonstrated secret compartments that allowed the dealers to hide cash and drugs in cars, night stands and a stand for a fish tank.
Spota credited police and investigators from numerous law enforcement agencies, including federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, New York State Police, the Suffolk sheriff’s, probation and police departments, and police from the towns of Southold, East Hampton, Riverhead, Southampton and Southampton village.