Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall , Special Agent in Charge

August 16, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

DEA, DA SINI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service & DA’S East End Drug Task Force announce takedown of alleged Montauk Drug distribution ring

Alleged conspiracy to sell narcotics involved seasonal workers in local bars, restaurants

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, the United States Postal Inspection Service and members of the District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force today announced the arrest of 16 individuals in connection with an alleged narcotics ring operating in the Montauk area.

“One thing is clear, the wrong kind of traffic was coming to Montauk, NY. I commend the members of our DEA Long Island District Office who worked on this investigation with our incredible federal, state, and local partners. I would also like to thank the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office for prosecuting this drug trafficking organization and for making a significant impact on the east end of Long Island. Traffickers who send narcotics through the mail and distribute within restaurants and bars endanger every person and community along the way.  It's time that these defendants are held accountable for their brazen actions,” said DEA New York Division Special Agent in Charge James Hunt.

“This case surrounds the drug trafficking that has been going on in the Montauk area for far too long,” District Attorney Sini said. “Year-round residents in Montauk have been voicing their concerns for years about the prolific drug dealing in their community, particularly during the summer season when the population increases dramatically. This investigation was swift and effective in targeting the ongoing drug problem, and the reason why is because of excellent collaboration between the federal and local law enforcement agencies involved.”

“As Postal Inspectors, one of the most important roles we play is protecting our employees, our customers and the U. S. Mail. This case reflects the dedication to this mission and exemplifies the collaboration of law enforcement to stop drug trafficking organizations from the transport and distribution of drugs into communities, putting an end to their illegal activity. We want to thank our partners who support our mission and the sanctity of our seal,” said U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina.

A multi-agency investigation beginning in March 2018 revealed evidence of an alleged conspiracy by the defendants to sell narcotics, including cocaine and oxycodone, to patrons in bars and restaurants in the Montauk area. The commercial establishments include Swallow East, Six-Eight-Six the Gig Shack, Shagwong Tavern, The Liar’s Saloon, and O’Murphy’s Pub & Restaurant.

Several of the defendants are seasonal workers in the service industry who live together in rented houses or motels provided by their employers. The investigation revealed evidence that the defendants were using both the residences and the commercial establishments at which they are employed to conduct the alleged sale of narcotics.

“These tourist locations thrive during the summer months, providing this organization an expanded client base from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” District Attorney Sini said. “Given their control over the drug market in Montauk, these co-conspirators were able to charge significantly inflated prices for their illegal products, which included cocaine and oxycodone.”

The defendants are alleged to have received packages of illicit substances through the mail from locations in and outside of the continental United States. An investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service resulted in the seizure of a package of approximately 100 oxycodone and alprazolam pills addressed to one of the locations where the defendants were living and a second package containing approximately $17,460 cash alleged to be mailed by the defendants as payment.

On August 15, detectives and police officers executed search warrants at five locations connected to the alleged narcotics distribution ring. The search warrants resulted in the arrest of 15 individuals and the seizure of approximately $100,000 cash; approximately 650 grams of cocaine; marijuana; various pills, including alprazolam and hydrocodone; and assorted drug paraphernalia, including a kilo press, cutting agents, cell phones and packaging materials.

The individuals arrested are:

  • Geraldo Vargas-Munoz, a/k/a CHELO, 37, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, an A-1 felony.
  • Elvin Silva-Ruiz, a/k/a PITO, 40, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, an A-II felony.
  • Antonio Ramirez-Gonzalez, a/k/a TETE, 30, of Montauk, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a B felony.
  • Gilberto Quintana-Crespo, a/k/a JIMMY, 32, of Montauk, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a B felony.
  • William Crespo-Duran a/k/a FLACO, 35, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, an A-II felony.
  • Thomas Harwood, 25, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, an A misdemeanor.
  • Nawar Qanbar, 32, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, an A misdemeanor.
  • Louis Madariaga-Medina, 31, of Montauk, is charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, an A misdemeanor.
  • Israel Padilla-Rosas, 33, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree, an A misdemeanor.
  • Bryan Ruiz-Sanchez, 22, of Montauk, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a B felony.
  • Alex Joel Tirado-Rivera, 32, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, an A misdemeanor, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.
  • Bracklie Vargas-Gonzalez, 24, of Montauk, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, an A misdemeanor, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.
  • Kevin Becker, 30 of Montauk, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a B felony.
  • John DeMelio, 32, of Montauk, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree, a B felony.
  • Gilbert Rodriguez-Mendez, 41, of Montauk, is charged with Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.

On August 16, the East Hampton Town Police Department arrested John Doherty Valentin, 29, of Montauk, in connection with the alleged sale of narcotics in Montauk. He is charged with seven counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a B felony.

This investigation was conducted by members of the DEA New York Division’s Long Island District Office, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force, including law enforcement officers and detectives from the New York State Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Department of Probation, East Hampton Town Police Department, East Hampton Town Police Department, Riverhead Town Police Department, Southampton Town Police Department, Southampton Village Police Department, and Southold Town Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney William Nash, of the Narcotics Bureau, and the Special Narcotics Unit.

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