Three Suffolk County men have been indicted on charges they used a Port Jefferson Station barbershop to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the deadly narcotics fentanyl, heroin and cocaine — even as legitimate customers paid for haircuts, officials said Wednesday.
A 53-count indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges the drug sales, which officials said netted about $50,000 monthly, took place beginning in January at the Man Cave barbershop on Route 112.
While the barbershop provided haircuts to some customers, others were in and out in five minutes after to purchasing drugs, said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini. Authorities did not link any of the narcotics allegedly sold at the barbershop to overdoses, Sini said.
“The Man Cave gave barbershop customers a choice of hair styles and a choice of drugs,” Sini said in Riverhead at a news conference announcing the indictments. “When they should have been focusing on cutting hair, these defendants were in the backroom, cutting fentanyl and cocaine.”
Charged in the indictment was Juan Lopez-Enriquez, 41, of Coram, the manager of the barbershop owned by his wife, who authorities said coordinated the drug sales and also cut hair.
Lopez-Enriquez, who also goes by "Willy," faces multiple felony counts of possession and sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a firearm, and several counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
Santiago Tavarez, 64, of Rocky Point, who goes by "Jose Rosado" or "Old Man," and is a barber at the shop, faces multiple felony counts of possession and sale of a controlled substance.
If convicted, Lopez-Enriquez and Tavarez each face a maximum sentence of 8 to 20 years in prison.
Carlos Encarnacion, 33, of Port Jefferson Station, is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He faces a maximum sentence of 3 to 10 years in prison, if convicted. Encarnacion also frequented the shop socially, authorities said.
Sini said both Tavarez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic who has a final deportation order against him, and Encarnacion, a Dominican Republic native who overstayed a visitor’s visa, will be subject to deportation proceedings.
Lopez-Enriquez and Encarnacion were arrested on Oct. 4. Tavares was arrested Monday.
All three pleaded not guilty at their arraignments. Lopez-Enriquez was ordered held on a $500,000 bond or $200,000 cash bail at his arraignment Wednesday; Encarnacion's bail was set at $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash. Tavarez was held on $400,000 bond or $200,000 cash bail.
Attorneys for the men could not be reached for comment.
The district attorney's Heroin Task Force, in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and Suffolk County police, in January and used physical and electronic surveillance, including wiretaps, Sini said.
The men sold about 1 kilogram of narcotics a month, and frequently sold fentanyl to buyers who thought they were getting heroin.
When police executed search warrants on Oct. 4 at the barbershop and other locations, they found a loaded semiautomatic handgun, a box of ammunition cartridges; a hydraulic kilo press; two scales; packaging materials; about 20 grams of cocaine; and about 200 grams of powder cutting agent, which authorities said is used to dilute narcotics to make them more profitable.
Also found was a can with a dog food label.
“Sure enough, it’s a hollowed-out can, and paraphernalia, drugs and cash were put in a Kibbles 'n Bits dog food can,” Sini said.