A drug trafficker from East Islip was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison for his role in a bicoastal cocaine operation and for torching a vehicle to deter an associate from cooperating with law enforcement, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Matthew Aichroth, 35, must also forfeit about $3.4 million in cocaine proceeds, part of a sentence that comes after he pleaded guilty in July 2017 to conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine and committing arson to further that conspiracy.
Aichroth's attorney, Anthony M. LaPinta of Hauppauge, said his client has taken "full responsibility for his conduct."
"He will take full advantage of all programs available to him in prison," LaPinta said. "I am confident that he will emerge as the model of rehabilitation and return to society a better person."
Aichroth helped bring drugs from California to Long Island between Feb. 1, 2015, and Sept. 26, 2016, prosecutors said. Investigators tracked him and his associates from Long Island to California and monitored a rental vehicle that he had used. The vehicle was loaded onto a car carrier in California, officials said, and it ended up in a shipping lot in New Jersey, where law enforcement officers saw Aichroth retrieve a duffel bag holding more than 10 kilograms of cocaine from the vehicle.
Another associate took the drugs to an Islip home, where law enforcement seized the cocaine, along with seven firearms, ammunition, drug packaging material, pills and about 200 grams of cocaine, officials said. In a California apartment that Aichroth used, investigators seized 234 grams of cocaine, a 9-millimeter pistol and ammunition, they said.
Aichroth also tried to intimidate an associate by setting fire to a vehicle in front of the man's home, a blaze that spread and caused "extensive damage" to the residence, authorities said.
“Aichroth used arson, guns and threats of violence to perpetrate his crimes while he poured dangerous drugs into our communities,” said Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, which covers Long Island. “Thanks to the outstanding work of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, it’s his freedom and future that have now gone up in flames.”
Aichroth's sentence was jointly announced by Hempstead Village police, the Suffolk County sheriff's office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.