The suspect's first mistake was leaving numerous traces of cocaine in a trash bag on the street outside a Huntington Station apartment -- apparently for sanitation men to pick up, officials said.
Adrian Bonilla's next mistake was hiding millions of dollars in cash behind newly installed drywall in the second-floor apartment at 14 Shelley St., officials said.
Scattered throughout the apartment were packages containing more than 24 pounds of cocaine, and behind the drywall were six safes containing a total of $3 million in $50 and $100 bills, officials said.
As a result, Bonilla, 34, of Huntington Station, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
"It's a significant amount of money and drugs," said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Eastern District federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch.
The wholesale value of the cocaine was $300,000, but it would be worth many times that amount if it were distributed on Long Island, officials said.
Sources said the arrest and the seizure of the drugs and money were part of an ongoing investigation into a large-scale Long Island cocaine ring that led to Bonilla's apartment.
DEA agents initially searched a black trash bag outside the building and found a number of clear plastic bags and paper towels containing a white residue, which tested positive for cocaine, according to court papers filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allen Bode and Margaret Lee.
Also in the trash bag was a receipt for an unspecified item or items with the name "Adrian" and "Adrian Bonilla" written on it, the document filed by the prosecutors said.
A search of the apartment Monday night found plastic bags containing 11 kilos, or 241/4 pounds, of cocaine, along with the six safes containing the cash stashed behind the wall, the document said.
Federal magistrate Arlene Lindsey in Central Islip held Bonilla without bail pending future hearings. He was not required to enter a plea.
Bonilla's attorney, Anthony La Pinta of Hauppauge, declined to comment.
If convicted, Bonilla faces from 20 years to life in prison.