A Brooklynite called a “middleman” in a multistate heroin and cocaine smuggling ring was sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison, officials said Thursday.
Joseph Calixte, 30, was convicted by a jury Oct. 24 of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy, according to a statement by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Calixte’s sentence also includes five years of post-release supervision, officials said.
Authorities had been investigating the drug ring for six months when his vehicle was stopped on the Southern State Parkway on July 4, 2017. Investigators discovered 4.5 pounds of cocaine in a hidden compartment in the trunk, leading to Calixte’s arrest, officials said.
The ring involved 19 defendants, 18 of whom have already pleaded guilty and were sentenced, prosecutors said.
Most of the defendants were arrested in October 2017, authorities said.
The ring, for which Calixte was a middle man, collected drug profits ranging from $200,000 to $300,000 a week by distributing cocaine and heroin upstate and to Chicago, Maine, Maryland and Virginia, officials said.
“This massive investigation stopped a multistate drug trafficking ring from pumping huge quantities of cocaine and deadly heroin into our communities,” Singas said. “While we focus on drug treatment for those fighting addiction, we aggressively prosecute and seek tough sentences for traffickers like this defendant. Those who profit from selling poison in Nassau County will be held accountable.”
Jerald Carter, Calixte’s attorney based in Garden City, said he will appeal Calixte’s conviction due to trial irregularities. “We’ll let the court determine the outcome” of the appeal, he said.
Carter declined to comment further.
Authorities said the case that broke up the ring was dubbed “Operation Gillespie” meant to honor Nassau County District Attorney Special Investigator William Gillespie, who died at age 56 on July 4, 2017, shortly after arresting Calixte.