Nine defendants in three cases where Suffolk police said they recovered five illegal handguns were arraigned Friday while some of their attorneys spoke up on their behalf a day after their arrests.
The suspects were arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip after they were arrested Thursday when police encountered them in three unrelated interactions: a routine traffic stop, a search warrant execution and a response to shots fired, officials said.
Officers found one handgun during a 3:30 p.m. traffic stop in Central Islip, two during a 5:50 a.m. search warrant execution in Bay Shore, and two more in a 1:30 a.m. response to shots fired in Brightwaters, police said.
In Central Islip, police arrested three Central Islip residents after stopping a vehicle on Cone Avenue because it allegedly had tinted windows, and finding a loaded gun in the vehicle upon searching.
Jhonata Garcia Gomez, 22, of Cordello Avenue; Kyle Daly, 22, of Leaf Avenue; and Jiovanni Trujillo, 21, of Cone Avenue, were each charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, police and prosecutors said. They were being held on bail and are due back in court Jan. 16.
Natasja Bellinger of West Islip, who represents Daly, and Eric Besso of Sayville, who represents Trujillo, both said their clients had no knowledge of a gun in the vehicle in which they were riding.
"He maintains his innocence," Bellinger said of Daly.
"There were three people in the car and that wasn't his gun," Besso said of Trujillo, while Gomez's attorney could not be reached for comment.
In Bay Shore, officers arrested two Atlantic Avenue residents after multiple special units — Third Squad Special Operations Team detectives, Narcotics Section detectives, Third Precinct Crime Section officers and Emergency Service Section officers — executed a search warrant and seized drugs, a shotgun and two handguns.
Kevin Cuevas, 29, was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a firearm, third- and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
He was being held on $101,000 cash or $202,500 bond, officials said.
"We look forward to our opportunity to present our defenses," said his attorney, Harry R. Thomasson of Wantagh.
Jaysha Pastrana, 36, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, police said. The couple’s four children were inside when police recovered the guns as well as “50 grams of cocaine, 20 grams of MDMA, a quantity of Xanax and steroids, a bulletproof vest, ammunition, assorted Latin Kings items and drug paraphernalia,” police said.
She was being held on $1,000 cash bail or $2,500 bond. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.
The Brightwaters incident occurred after police responded to a report of shots fired on Orinoco Drive, where officers stopped a car that was leaving the scene and arrested four West Babylon residents.
Michael Salanitri, 18, of Sixth Street; Jeremy Rivera, 21, of Ninth Street; Tyleek Fields, 18, of Justice Street; and Noel Vanparys, 18, of Kellum Street, are each facing two counts of weapons charges, police said.
They were all issued temporary orders of protection and held on $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash.
Police said they recovered two loaded handguns during the incident.
"He adamantly denies possessing or shooting any gun," said James D'Angelo of Central Islip, who represents Vanparys.
The other lawyers for defendants in the Brightwaters arrests could not be reached for comment.