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Cops: 'Top level' dealer from Franklin Square arrested

A search of a Franklin Square man's home led police to commercial-grade explosive, more than $100,000 worth of drugs, assault weapons and thousands of dollars in cash, police said. Videojournalist: Howard Schnapp (Jan. 30, 2013)

A "top level" Nassau County drug dealer, who ran a diverse operation from his parents' Franklin Square home, was arrested by a special police unit that later searched his bedroom and found thousands in cash, drugs, homemade explosives and assault weapons, police said.

The suspect, Gabriel Dipierno, 26, of Rintin Street, was arrested late Tuesday afternoon shortly after police saw him "selling six glassine envelopes of what appears to be heroin" to Kenneth J. Butler II, police said.

Dipierno faces multiple counts of drug and weapons possession and one count of reckless endangerment.

Butler, 28, of 965 Naple Ave., Franklin Square, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Both were arrested by members of the Asset Forfeiture Unit-Criminal Intelligence Rapid Response Team, in a joint investigation with the Arson Bomb Squad and Fourth Squad, Nassau police said. Officers from the unit were patrolling Franklin Square after a recent rise in street robberies and drug dealing when they saw the deal that led to the bust, said the unit's commanding officer, Det. Sgt. Pat Ryder, at a news conference Wednesday.

In addition to drugs, weapons and ammunition, Ryder said police found potent explosives in Dipierno's bedroom.

"He had homemade material, enough material that if set correctly and detonated, would have blown off the top of that house," Ryder said.

The explosive material was removed by the bomb squad for testing, and will eventually be destroyed, police said.

Investigators do not believe the parents were aware of their son's activities.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Police Commissioner Thomas Dale attended the news conference and described the bust as a "major" takedown.

"We're in a war on illegal guns and drugs," Mangano said.

A search of Dipierno's car found prescription pain killers and more heroin, police said.

After getting a search warrant for Dipierno's residence, detectives found more than 4,000 tablets of anabolic steroids and several hundred bottles of liquid anabolic steroids, Ryder said.

Also found were plastic bags containing pain killers and heroin packets, he said. Weapons included several assault rifles, two 12-gauge pump shotguns, ammunition clips and commercial-grade explosives, as well as scales and more than $7,000 in cash. The drugs have a street value of $100,000, Ryder said.

Ryder said police are investigating possible links between Dipierno -- who allegedly imported steroids from Mexico and other countries -- and other dealers.

"There's a complex scheme of importing these drugs that we're looking into," Ryder said. "He used a complex scheme of post office boxes that he had these drugs delivered to through different names and different addresses."-- With Patricia Kitchen

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