At left, Jose Tejada, of West Babylon, one of the...

At left, Jose Tejada, of West Babylon, one of the suspects in a in major cocaine ring busted in Suffolk. (Aug. 3, 2011) Credit: Handout, James Carbone

Bail was set at $1.5 million cash or $3 million bond Friday for one of the four men charged with running a major cocaine ring that smuggled drugs into Suffolk County from California.

Judge Mark D. Cohen set the bail in Suffolk Criminal Court at the arraignment of Richard Occhino, 46, of North Babylon, on an indictment charging him with of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, a felony punishable by 20 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Jake Kubetz told the court that Occhino provided protection for the smugglers -- Jose Tejada, 33, of West Babylon, and Theodore Katsanos, 29, of Bay Shore -- and their ringleader, Robert Perticone, 30, of North Babylon.

Kubetz also said that Occhino had an extensive criminal history that included a conviction in 2002 for enterprise corruption that got him 1 to 3 years in prison.

An attorney for Occhino said his client was never physically involved in any of the alleged drug and money transactions, and that Occhino was having marital troubles so he was staying at Perticone's North Babylon residence.

Occhino is due back in court on Sept. 19.

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