DA: Alleged drug distribution operation busted

CENTEREACH, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — A Centereach man is among 12 individuals, several of whom are members of the 18th Street gang, indicted in connection with an alleged drug distribution operation, according to prosecutors and federal investigators. 

On Friday, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) and members of the District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force (“EEDTF”) announced the indictments.

“This was a multi-agency effort that resulted in the takedown of major drug traffickers selling crack cocaine and powder cocaine, and doing so in a way that was terrorizing the community,” Sini said. “They were selling in front of retail establishments and in public areas, and the people selling those drugs were dangerous gang members. This dealt a major blow to drug dealing going on in the Riverhead area and throughout the East End of Long Island. We will continue to utilize innovative investigative techniques and work with all of our law enforcement partners to take drug dealers and gang members off our streets.”

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“The fight against transnational criminal organizations such as the infamous 18th Street Gang begins with partnerships on the home front and is exemplified by the combined efforts of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the East End Drug Task Force,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations. “As alleged in the criminal indictment, members and associates of the 18th Street Gang were responsible for and financially benefited from the distribution of narcotics throughout the east end of Long Island. By leveraging our combined resources, we illuminated their narcotics network and brought this investigation to a swift conclusion with the arrests of key individuals from this transnational criminal organization.”

“These are some of the most dangerous gangs in Suffolk County and in the nation, and the excellent cooperation between law enforcement agencies in rooting criminal drug activity and bringing these people to justice will make Suffolk County safer for all,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr.

“This case, once again, underscores the persistence of dangerous drug traffickers in our area and the need for coordinated law enforcement action to stop them,” Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said. “These defendants put our residents at high risk through the deadly products they peddle and the methods of their operations. The Southampton Town Police Department is committed to working with the East End Drug Task Force to prevent these dangerous operations in our communities.”

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, HSI and EEDTF began an investigation in July 2020 into alleged drug dealing by several members of the 18th Street gang and other associated individuals in the Riverhead area. The investigation involved the use of undercover officers, roving surveillance, electronic surveillance, and court-authorized eavesdropping.

The investigation revealed that the defendants were allegedly selling powder cocaine and crack cocaine to hundreds of buyers primarily in the Riverhead area, as well as in the Hamptons and various locations in the Town of Brookhaven. The investigation revealed evidence that the alleged drug operation was making approximately $75,000 each month through the illicit sales.

Pursuant to the investigation, search warrants were executed Thursday at seven locations in connection with the alleged drug operation, during which law enforcement seized approximately 300 grams of cocaine, approximately 50 ecstasy (MDMA) pills, seven grams of methamphetamine, a .38 revolver handgun, and approximately $70,000 in cash. Law enforcement also seized half a kilogram of powder cocaine during the course of the investigation.

The DA announced the following charges:

• Marvin Javier Ruiz Paz a/k/a “Pulga,” 39, of Centereach, is charged with three counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-I felony; Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony; Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony; and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Deris Denilo Matamoros Alvarado a/k/a “Derry,” 35, of Riverhead, is charged with two counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-I felony; Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-I felony; two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony; two counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; six counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony; and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

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• Kennedi Octavio Gonzalez Paiz a/k/a “Kenni,” 37, of Riverhead, is charged with two counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-I felony; Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony; and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Elvin Naun Bonilla Morales a/k/a “Elvito,” 39, of Southampton, is charged with two counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-I felony; Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony; and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Marvin Javier Bonilla Morales, 33, of Southampton, is charged with two counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-I felony; Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony; and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Christopher Emmanuel Millan Marin a/k/a “Cuervo,” 35, of Riverhead, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Brian Jefferson Toro Maldonado a/k/a “Torro,” 27, of Mastic, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Wilmer Wilfredo Godoy Chacon, 34, of Westhampton, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony, and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony.

• Jose Roberto Alvarado Romero a/k/a “Robertito,” 40, of Riverhead, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony; two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and Criminal Facilitation in the Second Degree, a class C felony.

• Three additional alleged co-conspirators will be arraigned at a later date, the DA said.

Matamoros Alvarado and Gonzalez Paiz have been identified by law enforcement as members of the 18th Street gang. Marin has been identified by law enforcement as a member of the Sureños gang.

If convicted of the top count, Matamoros Alvarado, Ruiz Paz, Gonzalez Paiz, Elvin Morales and Marvin Morales each face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. If convicted of the top count, Millan Marin, Toro Maldonado, Godoy Chacon and Alvarado Romero each face a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force includes law enforcement officers and detectives from the New York State Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Department of Probation, East Hampton Town Police Department, Riverhead Town Police Department, and Southampton Village Police Department.

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