A heroin pipeline into Suffolk County featured home delivery in a number of communities, but law enforcement officials said Wednesday that 16 arrests have ended that service.
Even as they applauded the latest drug bust, authorities acknowledged there is no scarcity of dealers ready to profit off the voracious appetite of opioid addicts.
“This is the 13th time since the Medford pharmacy massacre [in June 2011] that I have stood before you” detailing major drug-dealing arrests, District Attorney Thomas Spota told reporters at his Hauppauge office. He said the murders of four people in that case laid bare the county’s opioid epidemic.
In the latest case, Spota said a task force, including his office, Suffolk County Police Department and federal Drug Enforcement Administration, ended a heroin and cocaine ring by arresting 16 people earlier this month and charging them with drug trafficking.
Spota identified the ringleader as Oswald Alfaro, 35, of Jackson Heights, Queens.
Alfaro collected more than $12,000 in cash every three days by bringing 240 bags of varying amounts of the drugs to stash houses in Central Islip and Brentwood, the district attorney said.
From there, dealers made daily home deliveries to users in Ronkonkoma, Islip Terrace, Oakdale, Smithtown and elsewhere, Spota said.
Alfaro, who has no criminal record, was charged with operating as a major trafficker and has pleaded not guilty. He is being held on bail of $1 million cash or $2 million bond.
Spota’s news conference was a familiar exercise, and he acknowledged that. Once again, he stood behind a table with stacks of cash, handguns and other paraphernalia associated with drug arrests.
Again, there was a board with mug shots of defendants to his side. And he insisted once more that although “we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” arrests are necessary to keep the pressure on.
Spota described Alfaro as a “stern taskmaster” who insisted his sellers work shifts from 8 a.m. to midnight with no more than a half-hour break. Alfaro would ferry the drugs from Queens to the stash houses in a variety of expensive cars, including an Aston Martin and a Mercedes-Benz sports car, Spota said. Police seized those and seven other cars.
Alfaro’s attorney, John LoTurco of Huntington, described him differently in a statement.
“Oswald Alfaro and the entire Alfaro family are hardworking, family-oriented people,” he said. “We vigorously deny these allegations and we look forward to zealously litigating this matter at trial.”
Spota said he hopes the arrests send a message to those thinking of taking Alfaro’s place.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini agreed. “Every little bit helps,” he said, calling Alfaro and his associates major dealers.
At the news conference, Spota also displayed handguns modified to fire as many as 50 rounds without reloading and Rolex watches, including one worth $50,000.
“When he [Alfaro] is incarcerated upstate, he’s not going to be wearing those watches, and he’s not going to have two cents in his pocket,” Spota said.