Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and the Long Island Heroin Taskforce recently announced that 15 people, including three major traffickers, have been indicted for their alleged roles in a drug operation that spanned Long Island, Kings and Queens counties.
In total, 88,000 individual doses of heroin worth approximately $1,276,400; 1,024 grams of cocaine valued at $102,400; and $1,214,093 in cash were seized during this investigation. Additionally, three bank accounts with $262,900 were frozen.
Singas said that beginning in July 2019, the NCDA, NCPD and Long Island Heroin Taskforce began an investigation into a drug operation that allegedly sold heroin to customers from Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The drugs were allegedly sold from the parking lot of the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York, Brooklyn for more than six years.
During the four-month investigation, alleged ringleaders Luis Rivera and Orlando Rodriguez, who are charged with operating as major traffickers, allegedly sold between 1,300 and 2,600 bundles (13,000 to 26,000 individual doses) of heroin per month to 74 different customers, including 13 alleged street dealers charged in this indictment. One of those alleged dealers, Joseph Melito, who is a resident of Albertson, is also charged as a major trafficker.
Melito was arraigned and charged with operating as a major trafficker, third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. If convicted of the top count, Melito faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
During the investigation, Rivera and Rodriguez’s alleged profits averaged approximately $30,000 per week and totaled $230,000 in heroin and cocaine sales. Of the ring’s 74 customers, 54 have been identified as coming from Nassau County. Heroin originally distributed by Rivera is allegedly connected to 13 overdoses in Nassau, three of which were fatal.
“This massive operation has dismantled the largest known heroin trafficking operation in Nassau County, disrupting the flow of this deadly poison into our communities,” Singas said. “Putting these alleged traffickers out of business will save lives.”
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are likely. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.