Suffolk County sheriff investigators have arrested eight people, including five visitors, in connection with an alleged drug trafficking ring at the Riverhead jail.
The arrests, which occurred last week and were announced Tuesday, came after a three-month probe by sheriff’s investigators, the jail's internal security and the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.
Officials said the ring smuggled in heroin, buprenorphine, cannabis, K2spice and other drugs by sewing narcotics into clothing and hiding them inside packing material.
Three inmates received the drugs by mail and through visitors to the jail, sheriff's officials said. Authorities were able to intercept the drugs while monitoring phone calls and conducting surveillance at the jail, the officials said.
""Through surveillance, searches, and detailed investigatory work, these investigators were able to uncover a complex plan to traffic dangerous drugs into the facility," Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon said. "I thank them and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office for their hard work and dedication to keeping the staff and inmates of the Suffolk County Correctional Facility safe and for stopping these drugs from getting into our facility."
Prosecutors charged Ray Pena, 27, of Port Jefferson Station, with attempted promoting prison contraband and conspiracy. He had pleaded guilty in July to misdemeanor reckless endangerment and was sentenced to one year in jail.
Jahmohri Mitchell, 22, of Shirley, was charged with two counts of attempted promoting prison contraband, criminal facilitation and two counts of conspiracy. He was indicted in June and was awaiting trial on seven felonies, including criminal use of a firearm, robbery and misdemeanor resisting arrest and fleeing police.
Jonah Routi, 27, of Setauket, was charged with attempted promoting prison contraband, conspiracy and criminal facilitation. He was indicted in August on four felony charges of armed robbery.
Undersheriff Kevin Catalina said they monitor inmates based on risk and use predictive analysis to look for contraband like drugs. He said the inmates and visitors were all working together in the operation.
"Cases like this are important because if contraband gets into the jail, someone can overdose and we can't allow that," he said.
The five visitors face various charges including conspiracy, possession and sale of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband.
"The defendants allegedly conspired to introduce dangerous drugs into the SCCF. Thanks to the excellent work of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau, working with prosecutors from my office, this scheme was thwarted," said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney.