The Suffolk Heroin Task Force announced Wednesday the arrest of more than two dozen suspected heroin dealers, including three New York City men—two of them brothers—accused of running two separate drug rings along with several alleged Suffolk-based pushers.
Investigators executed seven search warrants, utilized undercover stings and wiretaps to build their case over six months against the 31 people rounded up. Fourteen of those were charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Juan Muniz, 32, of Richmond Hill, Queens, and his brother, 36-year-old Carlos Muniz of Brooklyn, each pleaded not guilty last week and are being held at Suffolk County jail.
“The Muniz heroin enterprise is also notable by its marketing bravado, offering eleven bags of heroin to purchasers of their heroin bundles – packages of heroin bundled for sale that commonly contain 10 bags,” Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
The New York City Police Department assisted in the raid, which uncovered 35 bags of heroin that Carlos Muniz threw out the window of his apartment, Spota said. Police radios, scanner equipment and a bulletproof vest were also confiscated, he added. At the time of his arrest, Juan Muniz, a prior felony offender, had a narcotics warrant for his arrest.
The other New York City alleged heroin ring was also based in Brooklyn, authorities said.
Carlos Sanchez, 33, of Brooklyn, who shared some customers with the Muniz brothers, often sold the heroin to Long Island customers at a gas station parking lot, authorities said. He allegedly had 177 bags of heroin on him while waiting for a customer at the time of his arrest.
Sanchez pleaded not guilty last month to similar charges and is out on $20,000 cash bail.
The Suffolk-based dealers were just as busy, investigators said.
Michelle Atkinson, 32, of West Babylon, sold about $72,000 worth of heroin that she bought in Brooklyn over a period of six months and sold the drugs in Suffolk for more than double the price, prosecutors said.
“She averaged the purchase of 5 sleeves of heroin, or about 500 bags, per week from both Brooklyn suppliers,” said Spota of Atkinson, who operates a towing business in the Ronkonkoma area. Atkinson’s roommate, Denise Ward, 40, was also charged with conspiracy.
A Nesconset man, 27-year-old Lee Colfin, was arrested last month at a gas station in Smithtown.
Colfin “was observed selling heroin at a gas station and at fast food outlets in Smithtown to customers as young as 17,” Spota said. Investigators said they found 77 bags of heroin, packaging materials and hypodermic needles stored in a safe in his Leary Lane home. He also pleaded not guilty and remains in jail.
Glenn Second, 47, of West Islip was busted for 70 bags of heroin, 20 of them in his shoes, and another 50 bags in his home, investigators said.
“We remain vigilant and steadfast in our resolve to eradicate the heroin scourge plaguing our community,” said John Gilbride, the Special Agent-In-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division. “Today’s arrests are a small step in solving a bigger problem.”