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Apr 10, 2019 4:39 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Montauk Drug Distribution Ring Member Sentenced To Six Years On Wednesday

Apr 16, 2019 11:27 AM

Yet another defendant arrested over the summer in connection with what the Suffolk County district attorney’s office described as a narcotics distribution ring in Montauk was sentenced to prison on felony drug charges by Judge Timothy Mazzei in Suffolk County Criminal Court on Wednesday, April 10.

William Crespo-Duran, 35, also known as “Flaco,” was sentenced to six years in state prison followed by five years under post-release supervision. He has spent approximately eight months in jail since his arrest, which will be applied to his sentence.

Facing a maximum sentence of 25 years, Mr. Crespo-Duran had pleaded guilty, and his sentence had been “greatly reduced,” according to his attorney.

On August 15, 2018, East Hampton Town detectives and police officers executed search warrants at five locations in Montauk, resulting in the arrest of 17 men, many of whom live in Puerto Rico but were working seasonally and for nominal pay at Montauk restaurants.

Mr. Crespo-Duran was found in his seasonal apartment on Gates Avenue with 250 grams of cocaine, $22,000 in cash, scales and packaging materials, according to Sheila Kelly, director of communications for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. District Attorney Timothy Sini described him as one of the ring’s five leaders.

At last Wednesday’s sentencing, Mr. Crespo-Duran spoke through a Spanish translator, with his head bowed and hands cuffed behind his back. Judge Mazzei asked Mr. Crespo-Duran if he had any final words before being sentenced.

“First of all, I apologize,” said Mr. Crespo-Duran, choking back tears. “I’ll miss my family.”

Outside the courtroom, Robert Coyle, Mr. Crespo-Duran’s lawyer, added that his client has no prior criminal record. Throughout their meetings, the attorney said, his client had “reflected wholeheartedly … he apologizes to both the community of Suffolk and Montauk.”

Mr. Coyle said that Mr. Crespo-Duran has a wife of several years, as well as a 3-year-old daughter. “He realizes that this has taken him away from his daughter,” Mr. Coyle said.

In August 2018, Mr. Crespo-Duran was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, an A felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a B felony, conspiracy in the second degree, a B felony, and two counts of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, an A misdemeanor. Bail was set at $750,000 cash or $1.5 million bond, which he failed to post. Since then, Mr. Crespo-Duran has been in the Suffolk County Jail.

In February, he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, involving narcotics totaling 4 ounces or more, which is a class A felony.

The 17 men were receiving packages of illicit substances through the mail, prosecutors said. Detectives said they seized approximately $100,000 in cash, 700 grams of cocaine, marijuana and various pills, including alprazolam and hydrocodone, in addition to assorted drug paraphernalia, including a kilo press, cutting agents, cellphones, digital scales and packaging materials.

Antonio “Tete” Ramirez-Gonzalez, 30, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy in the first degree on February 6, and was sentenced to three to nine years in prison in March. Gilberto “Jimmy” Quintana-Crespo, 32, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of conspiracy in the fourth degree, a felony, and faces one year in prison. Sentences for Geraldo Vargas-Munoz, 37, the alleged drug ring leader, and Elvin Silva-Ruiz, 40, are still pending.

“He doesn’t come from very much at all in Puerto Rico,” Mr. Coyle said outside the courtroom after the sentencing of his client.

“He hopes that he’ll be able to better his life and be in his daughter’s life,” the attorney said. ”He wants to learn from it and better himself.“

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