HAUPPAUGE, Long Island -- Nineteen alleged members of a drug ring had millions in annual sales and were so successful because of the sophisticated means they used to conceal their sales, detectives said.
"This is a large [bust],"Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said at a noon news conference. "We're talking about a large amount of narcotics."
A number of overdoses, he, said, can be traced to drugs that the ring had sold. To be precise, the D.A. clarified, three of those overdoses “resulted in death -- two in Suffolk, one in Nassau [County]."
"We know these people have killed people," he said.
Detectives said that Sheron Davis, 31, led the ring of 18 men and 1 woman, who were affiliated with the Bloods street gang. Investigators said that the ring members were mixing together heroin and other drugs, pressing them into kilogram packages, and selling them.
"These are drug dealers dealing to other dealers," said D.A. Sini.
He also gave a demonstration of a secret compartment and trap door system in a 2018 Toyota that one of the alleged gang members had installed to conceal drugs and cash.
"See this door right here?" asked Sini, as he knocked on a carpet-covered panel under the passenger's seat. "It's a hard metal door."
He then demonstrated how two different concealed compartments would either open or close, by placing a magnet over a switch hidden in a cupholder, and then pressing the defrost button.
Davis, the alleged ringleader, was arrested at a raid this week at his home on Gladys Avenue in Hempstead. Detectives said that the group used the home as drug manufacturing and distribution center.
A person who lives nearby told PIX11 News that he'd seen "cars line up the whole block,” in recent months. “Nice cars," he added. He, like other nearby residents, did not want to give his name, for fear of retaliation.
Detectives seized 425 grams of heroin from the Gladys Avenue home -- enough for 15,000 doses of the lethal drug. They also seized thousands of dollars in cash, plus three guns, a machine that presses out one-kilogram blocks, and a high-speed blender.
The latter two items, the D.A. said, were used to prepare drugs for sale.
Five of the 19 alleged drug ring members are still at large, and are being encouraged by law enforcement to turn themselves in.
The alleged ring members are being charged with conspiracy in the second degree. If they get convicted, they face prison sentences ranging from 8 1/3 years to 25 years.