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Long IslandCrime

Six arrested in drug investigation, state police say

The discovery of a plumbing pipe containing $50,000, the seizure of various drugs and six arrests capped a yearlong investigation that started with three undercover drug buys, State Police said Thursday.

Investigators busted a street-level operation led by a Selden couple, who kept much of their illegal stash in their bedroom, said Senior Investigator Joe Svercel of the State Police on Long Island.

Richard Figueroa, 46, and his wife, Joann Figueroa, 51, sold cocaine from their home and his auto repair shop in Bohemia, police said. After undercover agents bought drugs from Figueroa in December, investigators began watching him deliver and sell drugs in his vehicle, sometimes with his 13-year-old daughter in the backseat, Svercel said.

On Wednesday, state police and investigators from the Suffolk district attorney’s office, armed with search warrants, raided the couple’s home, repair shop and storage unit, along with the home of one of their accomplices, officials said.

They seized more than two pounds of cocaine, more than 70 grams of crack, more than 300 grams of marijuana, Xanax and oxycodone pills, more than $60,000 and several vehicles, police said.

“This case is another example of the continuous effort of the State Police to stop the distribution of illegal drugs on Long Island,” said Major David Candelaria, commander of the State Police on Long Island. “The State Police, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to work to stop the flow of these illegal narcotics into our communities.”

Besides the Figueroas, police also arrested Jeff Delvale, 47, of Bohemia; Wilfredo Colon, 56, of Patchogue; Daniel Corey, 26, of Holbrook; and Angel Ortiz, 47, of Bellport.

The Figueroas, Delvale and Colon were charged with various counts of drug possession, including with intent to sell, and of conspiracy. Richard Figueroa was booked on several counts of criminal sale of drugs. Corey was charged with selling drugs and conspiracy, while Ortiz was charged with conspiracy.

All were arraigned, but whether they had attorneys was not immediately known. Richard Figueroa’s bail was set at $3 million bond or $1 million cash, while his wife’s bail was set at $1.5 million bond or $500,000 cash.

Svercel said most of the drugs and money were found in the Figueroas’ bedroom. The cocaine was under their mattress, he said, but what sticks in his mind is a PVC pipe, about a foot long and 4 inches in diameter, that authorities found in a bedroom drawer.

It had a lock on one end, the investigator said.

“It was actually ingenious,” Svercel. “You unscrewed the top of it and it was like, ‘Look at that.’ ”

The pipe contained $50,000, he said.

Police said the investigation continues and more charges and arrests are expected.

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