A Flanders man got 10 years in prison Friday and became the first defendant to be sentenced in what officials said was the result of a joint federal-local crackdown against drug dealers and members of the Bloods street gang on the East End of Long Island.
Although Daniel Harris, 37, was not a member of the street gang, he was a longtime dealer arrested by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force and the Suffolk County East End Task force, officials said. The task force has arrested 18 people since 2018.
As part of a plea bargain, Harris also has admitted — along with drug dealing — to possession of firearms used to protect his drug trafficking at his sentencing in front of U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt in Central Islip, federal officials said.
Eastern District U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement: “With today’s sentence, the defendant is deservedly punished for endangering the residents of Eastern Long Island with his drug dealing and arming himself to the teeth to protect his illicit business.”
Harris' attorney, Nancy Bartling of Mineola, said her client acknowleged his guilt and looks forward to a productive life after serving his prison sentence. “We’re happy with the sentence,” Bartling said.
When Harris' home was raided in 2018, officials found more than a kilogram of cocaine, 40 grams of crack cocaine, $10,000 in cash, narcotics packaging material, a narcotics press and brass knuckles, according Eastern District Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Maffei. In addition, Maffei wrote in papers that officials also found a shotgun, a .38 revolver and a 9mm pistol “the defendant kept to protect his drug business.”
Prosecutors had asked that Harris, who had three previous state felonies, be sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for a plea to two felony counts—possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of firearms in drug trafficking.
Bartling said the judge acted because of her client’s genuine remorse and because of his troubled upbringing, with his father dying when he was 3 years old, and his single, drug-addicted mother dying of cancer when he was a teenager.
When the crackdown began in 2018, Donoghue said: “The toxic mixture of street gangs, drug dealing and illegal firearms poses a direct threat to the safety of our citizens and our community.”
In addition to drug and gun charges, other defendants have been charged with one murder and conspiracies to commit murders.
Earlier in the week, federal authorities announced as part of the East End cases, murder charges against two members of the Bloods gang’s Red Stone Gorilla clique in the 2015 fatal shooting of a man who happened to be sitting in the car of another man who the gang had intended to kill.
The East End Task Force includes the Suffolk County district attorney’s office and police department, the New York State Police, the Riverhead Police Department, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.