SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Law enforcement officials announced today they have taken down an alleged major drug trafficking ring that involved guns, luxury cars, and more than one million dollars in cash. The arrests announced include individuals in Coram, Lake Grove, and Wading River.
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the Suffolk County Police Department announced the arrest of five individuals and the seizure of 19 kilograms of narcotics, more than $1.5 million cash, and numerous firearms in a takedown of an alleged multi-million dollar cross-country drug distribution network operating in Suffolk County.
“The magnitude of this drug distribution ring is enormous; they were responsible for peddling millions of dollars in narcotics on an almost weekly basis,” Sini said. “Not only did this organization continue their illicit operation during the coronavirus pandemic, they were also exploiting the limited availability of certain narcotics during the health crisis to generate even greater profits off their sales. With this takedown, we’ve put a large-scale drug distribution network out of business and prevented 19 kilograms of narcotics from reaching the streets of Suffolk County. This was outstanding work by the members of my office’s Special Narcotics Bureau in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Suffolk County Police Department, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and all of our law enforcement partners involved in the investigation.”
“This investigation exemplifies how drug traffickers have been impacted by the coronavirus; adapting smuggling methods, transportation routes, and money laundering operations to maintain security and social distancing,” said Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New York Division. “Allegedly, the Sosa organization’s operation was a major drug supplier for Long Island and the tri-state area; and by seizing 9 guns and millions of dollars’ worth of illicit narcotics law enforcement is saving lives.”
“This is another example of the focus and tenacity of the men and women of this department as they continue their relentless work to protect our residents,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “By intercepting 17 kilos of cocaine and arresting five people, three of whom are major traffickers, this investigation has a significant impact on the drug supply in Suffolk County and will help us stop the spread of narcotics. I would like to recognize the efforts of our Narcotics Section detectives and the members of the DEA Task Force as well as our partners in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.”
“When drug trafficking organizations seek to use the US Postal Service to further the distribution of narcotics, the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General will work tirelessly, with our law enforcement partners, to disrupt the criminal enterprise,” said Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent in Charge of the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General-Northeast Area. “Today’s announcement is a culmination of outstanding work and I would like to commend the DEA Taskforce, the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for their tireless efforts in this investigation.”
An investigation was launched in May 2019 by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, DEA and Suffolk County Police Department into alleged drug dealing by James Sosa, 25, of Wading River; Brian Sullivan, 24, of Lake Grove; and their associates, according to the District Attorney's office. The alleged drug trafficking ring would purchase narcotics on the west coast of the United States for transportation back to Suffolk County. It is alleged that members of this drug trafficking ring would utilize various methods to move narcotics and narcotic proceeds over the course of this investigation, often switching these methods to thwart detection by law enforcement. These methods included cross-county trips in vehicles and airplanes as well as the use of mail carrier services.
Pursuant to the investigation, law enforcement officers executed search warrants on June 27 at six locations in connection with the alleged drug distribution ring, including residences in Lake Grove, Wading River, Port Jefferson Station, Coram, Selden and Brentwood. The search warrants resulted in the seizure of 16 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of heroin, approximately $1.5 million in cash, approximately 4,000 oxycodone pills, nine firearms, and drug paraphernalia consistent with packaging and sales, including kilo presses and cutting agents. In addition, numerous luxury vehicles used in the alleged transport of narcotics have been seized and will forgo forfeiture proceedings.
Law enforcement previously seized one kilogram of cocaine earlier in the investigation, for a total of 19 kilograms of narcotics seized from this alleged trafficking operation.
The cocaine has an estimated street value of $1.6 million and the heroin has an estimated street value of $520,000, according to the DA. However the resale value of the narcotics once they are processed and mixed with cutting agents is estimated to be more than $4 million, the DA added. The investigation revealed evidence that this alleged trafficking ring would procure narcotics on an almost weekly basis with a street value of approximately $2.1 million per week.
The individuals arrested in connection with the alleged drug trafficking operation are as follows:
James Sosa, 25, of Wading River, is charged with two counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-1 felony; three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-1 felony, one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-1 felony; and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony. Sosa was arraigned yesterday and bail was set at $7.5 million cash, $7.5 million bond or $15 million partially-secured bond.
Brian Sullivan, 24, of Lake Grove, is charged with two counts of Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-1 felony; two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-1 felony; one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-1 felony; and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony. Sullivan was arraigned yesterday and bail was set at $5 million cash, $5 million bond or $10 million partially-secured bond.
Dashawn Jones, 33, of Passaic, New Jersey, is charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A-1 felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-1 felony; and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony. Jones was arraigned yesterday and bail was set at $2.5 million cash,$ 2.5 million bond or $5 million partially-secured bond.
Anthony Leonardi, 46, of Coram, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony. Leonardi was arraigned yesterday and was released on supervised release.
Anthony Cyntje, 22, of Passaic, New Jersey, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, a class A-1 felony, and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a class B felony. Cyntje is employed as a New Jersey State Correction Officer. Cyntje was arraigned yesterday and was released on his own recognizance.
If convicted of the top count, Sosa, Sullivan and Jones each face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison; Leonardi faces a maximum sentence of 12 and one-half to 25 years in prison; and Cyntje faces a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to 25 years in prison, according to the DA.
The investigation involved numerous investigative techniques including the use of court-authorized eavesdropping. The search warrants were executed by law enforcement agents from DEA’s Long Island District Office which includes the following agencies: New York State Police, Suffolk County District Attorney, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Nassau County District Attorney, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, and Hempstead Police Department. The warrants were executed by agents from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the Suffolk County Police Department, which provided extensive resources from their Narcotics Section, Firearm Suppression Team (“FAST”), Emergency Services Section and K9 Section.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kristin Barnes, of the Special Narcotics Bureau.