A Copiague man who Suffolk police said sold illegal narcotics to at least two people who later overdosed was charged Thursday with felony drug possession, 10 days after authorities seized more than $25,000 worth of fentanyl from his home.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said First Squad detectives developed intelligence that led to the arrest of Yanluis Estevez-Fernandez, 25, after the two overdoses earlier this month. They were among 22 overdoses in Suffolk between June 2 and 3 from either fentanyl, heroin, prescription drugs, or a combination of the three, police said, and one was fatal.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid linked to record numbers of deaths nationally, is 50 times stronger than heroin, according to officials.
“This is an important arrest,” Sini said. “There is no doubt in my mind that this arrest saved lives.”
Estevez-Fernandez’s arrest comes after the high amount of overdoses over 48 hours led Suffolk police to say they wouldlook deeper into Long Island’s supply chain of illegal narcotics.
Sini said Estevez-Fernandez is not believed to be tied directly to the fatal overdose, which took place in Elwood.
Suffolk First Squad detectives, with assistance from the Criminal Intelligence Section, the Long Island Heroin Task Force and the U.S. Marshalls, learned that Estevez-Fernandez had sold narcotics to at least two of the overdose victims, Sini said.
Six of the overdoses took place in the area of the First Precinct in West Babylon where the squad detectives are based, police said.
Armed with a warrant June 4, police searched Estevez-Fernandez’s North Emerson Avenue home and recovered plastic bags containing 315 grams of what investigators originally believed was a heroin-fentanyl combination. Lab tests determined the narcotics were nearly pure fentanyl, which Sini said carried a street price of $25,000.
Police also found 430 single-dose bags of fentanyl with a street price of $6 to $8, officials said.
Estevez-Fernandez surrendered at the First Precinct early Thursday, police said.
He faces charges of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, authorities said.
He pleaded not guilty at First District Court in Central Islip Thursday. Bail was set at $75,000 cash or $100,000 bond, said Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Estevez-Fernandez’s attorney George Terezako did not return a call for comment.
Sini said the amount of illegal narcotics seized at the Copiague home is “capable of killing dozens if not hundreds of people.
“We are talking about tens of thousands of doses,” Sini added. “That is a tremendous amount of that drug.”