.

DA: 'Kingpin' Operated Massive Drug Ring Out of Riverhead Home

Approximately a dozen arrests expected, authorities say.

The "kingpin" behind a major drug ring that distributed cocaine across the East End was operating out of his Riverhead home, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said on Tuesday.

"This was clearly a multimillion dollar operation," Spota said.

Robert Love, 58, of 29 Oakland Drive South, was allegedly involved in a Bronx-to-Riverhead drug ring delivering up to 3 kilos a week of powder cocaine; hidden "traps" were used to hide drugs in cars during runs, police say.

Spota held to announce the dismantling of the ring.

According to Spota, Love was convicted for sale and possession of cocaine in 2003 and was sentenced in 2003 to 10 years in a New York State Correctional Facility, with a release date of 2014. In 2009, Spota said, Love "convinced a parole board that he had seen the light and that he was rehabilitated. That light has quickly faded."

An investigation by the East End Drug Task Force that began last November resulted in the bust; two were arraigned at Suffolk County criminal court on Tuesday on grand jury indictments.

The D.A. announced  in February of last year, arresting close to 20 individuals.

Judge Martin Efman was expected on Tuesday to unseal the indictments of the alleged "ringleaders" of the drug ring, Love and Miguel Matos, 45, of Hughes Avenue in the Bronx.

Matos, Spota said, is a "huge" cocaine distributor.

Both men are currently in custody, as is Matos' son-in-law Radames "Ray" Melendez, 22, who Spota said acted as the "runner" or courier for the group, delivering cocaine to Love in Riverhead and collecting cash for his return to New York. Melendez, of Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx, was also slated to be arraigned Tuesday morning on a grand jury indictment.

According to Spota, Love would pay Matos approximately $37,500 per kilo — the kilos were pressed into bricks at a "tabletop operation" set up in Matos' Bronx apartment, where cameras were set up to ensure no stealing of the drugs took place during packaging — and then resold by Love in gram-sized packages that cost $50 to $60 to customers in Riverhead, Flanders, Greenport, Hampton Bays and Southampton.

Many customers would come to Love's Riverhead home, said Spota, who did not disclose other areas where the drugs were sold. When he was apprehended, Spota said Love threw a brick of cocaine over a fence.

Matos drove the drugs to Riverhead or western Suffolk County to meet Love, who never drove to the Bronx to pick up the cocaine, Spota said. The drugs were transported in a blue Hyundai and a red Ford Focus that had concealed traps that could be opened by pressing buttons on the air conditioner, hazard lights and windshield wipers in sequence.

A Bible was found among the evidence, Spota said. "He was praying that the cops wouldn't find him. He didn't read it enough."

Spota said a Suffolk County grand jury indicted Love and Matos on a rarely used statue of "kingpin." Love was charged with one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from sale, an A1 felony, one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from possession, an A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, an A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class B felony, and one count of conspiracy in the second degree, a B felony.

Matos was charged with one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from sale, an A1 felony, one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from possession, an A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, an A2 felony, one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, an A2 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class B felony, and one count of conspiracy in the second degree, a class B felony.

The defendants could face from 15 to 25 years to life in prison for the class A1 felonies, Spota said.

Melendez was charged with one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree, a class A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, a class A1 felony, and one count of conspiracy in the second degree, a class B felony — and could face between eight and 20 years in jail, Spota said.

Spota thanked Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller, Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley and Southampton Town Police Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa, as well as Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, for their efforts in the seven-month investigation.

During the investigation, eight search warrants were issued and East End Drug Task force detectives seized 13 cars; in three of the vehicles, authorities said they found hidden traps used by runners to store cocaine and cash during runs to and from New York City. Wiretaps were used in the investigation, Spota said.

Spota said up to a dozen arrests are expected in total. "This is a great day for Suffolk County law enforcement."

North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 01:17 AM
You go to prison to learn the ins and outs of the drug trade and make contacts
North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Nicole use your very limited IQ.The neighbor has to live there.Who else is in that neighborhood could do her harm?
Vince Isola August 03, 2012 at 02:57 AM
System needs to change.You get one chance if you get caught your in jail forever. Cons should pay there way in jail. Caught with drugs goodbye. DWI goodbye jail forever our society is to forgiving. WE need toughfer penalties
North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Vince how would you feel if your 20 year old got a DWI?Prison for life? We have more people in prison than any other Country in the World. What's the answer? I don't know.Proper parenting would help.Rikers has hundreds of what used to be crack babies.Now 16 to 19 years old.They are impossible to deal with.
Vince Isola August 03, 2012 at 10:12 AM
All I know is the news is full repeat offenders

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »