Law enforcement agents in a joint operation conducted by the Nassau and Suffolk police departments and the Long Island Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force also recovered 4 kilos of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
One of those arrested was Melquisedec Puello, 30, of Middle Village, who was identified as a leader of the ring.
The arrests “deliver a significant setback to one of the major suppliers of fentanyl in the metropolitan area,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said. It is estimated that the network delivered more than 3,000 bags of heroin/fentanyl (around 1 kilo) per week from New York City to Suffolk and Nassau counties.
The probe was sparked by a large increase of drug overdoses of users purchasing pure fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin on Long Island.
Large amounts of the drugs were found at the locations of the overdoses and were wrapped in lotto ticket paper and stamped with either the words “Aleve,” “Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Bridge” or “Clean Up.”
Along with the drugs, three handguns, an AK47 assault rifle, a pistol grip shotgun, narcotics parking materials, scales, grinders a money counter, a bulletproof vest and about $20,000 in cash were found on location.