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May 12, 2010 2:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Task force breaks up East End heroin ring

May 12, 2010 2:50 PM

For at least the last nine months—and probably much longer—2,500 bags of heroin per week flowed from New York City suppliers into the hands of eastern Long Island dealers, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

But a coalition of police forces throughout the East End, working since last fall, have arrested 20 members of the drug ring, some of whom were based in Southampton, Flanders and Riverhead, Mr. Spota said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“For those drug dealers who think they can come to the East End of Long Island this summer and peddle their poison, I have a message for them: that law enforcement will be waiting for them,” Mr. Spota said at the press conference in Riverhead.

Officers with the East End Drug Task Force executed most of the search warrants earlier this week and netted 4,430 bags of heroin packaged for street sale, as well as $173,000 in cash. Mr. Spota called it the largest heroin bust ever on the East End.

All in all, the drug ring brought an estimated 125,000 bags of heroin, worth almost $3 million, into eastern Suffolk County over the last year, Mr. Spota said.

Authorities said that Jovan Coffey, 28, of Flanders, working with his cousin, Shavar Coffey, 28, of Southampton, would buy heroin from a supplier in Queens and sell it on the streets of Riverhead, Flanders and Calverton, often stamped with sobriquets like “Quicksand,” “Top of the Line” and “Extra Strength President.”

Both men were arrested in the last couple of weeks, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Mr. Spota. Jovan Coffey, who lives on Flanders Road, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both felonies. Shavar Coffey, who lives on Sebonac Road, was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both felonies.

Mattituck residents Kathryn Schirripa, 21, and Michael Maffetone, 27, also were arrested in recent days and accused of dealing heroin in Hampton Bays and Flanders, as well as Southold and Riverhead towns, authorities said. Ms. Schirripa was charged with second-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both felonies, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. Mr. Maffetone was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, as well as seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, both misdemeanors, authorities said.

At the press conference, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst pledged two Southampton Town Police officers to the East End Drug Task Force, which is made up of officers from a number of departments in the region and funded by the district attorney’s office. Southampton Town has no officers working on the task force at the moment, Mr. Spota said.

“It was, to me, imperative that we did everything we could to stem this flow,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. She called heroin use a “significant problem” in Southampton Town, and one that appears to be getting worse. “We’ve seen a big increase in it—that much we know,” she said.

Also arrested in connection to the drug ring were Lashanne Anderson, 31, of Calverton; Shawn Badgett, 34, of Coram; Jessica Bosworth, 21, of Laurel; Sharieff Burton, 50, of Riverhead; Daniel Charbonnier, 21, of East Patchogue; Cynthia Dozier Walker, 53, of Riverhead; Terrence Dozier, 35, of Calverton; Edwin Felix, 27, of Jamaica, Queens; Angela Hobbs, 39, of Medford; Juan Pabon, 41, of Ridgewood Queens; David Patruno, 29, of Maspeth, Queens; Brian Rive, 36, of Mattituck; Sonya Vonica-Smith, 45, of Greenport; Terrence Smith, 40, of Greenport; Preston Washington, 39, of Riverhead; and Rondalynn Williams, 32, of Coram.

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We have 5 illegal boarding houses on our street. Cars come and go 24/7. Women are dropped off constantly 24/7. We have reported this to Southampton officials and have been quoted in the Press. Whatever the town is doing, it's not doing any good. We all now feel abandoned and some of us are now talking of selling. This drug problem we all read about is now spreading and our town officials are of no good.
By Jerry (2), Southampton on May 14, 10 9:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
Keep making the phone calls until they listen. Be the ripple that causes change.
By Grace (6), southampton on May 20, 10 11:21 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Hermione, East Hampton on May 14, 10 6:11 PM
Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than a good drug story. But arresting 20 low-level drug dealers is not one. These intermediaries will be replaced immediately. The net effect of this "drug bust" on the East End will be, unfortunately, less than zero, since Supervisor Throne-Holst has "pledged" two STPD officers to the "East End Drug Task Force". Does this mean that we will have to hire two additional STPD cops? (That's a rhetorical question.)

In the final analysis, the majority ...more
By highhatsize (3959), East Quogue on May 14, 10 11:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
The only way to stop heroin use is to eliminate the heroin. The U. S. is in Afganistan where ninety plus percent of the opium in the world is grown. If we were to think outside the box a bit we could win over the " hearts and minds" of the Afgan farmers by purchasing their opium and then distroying it thus saving billions of dollars in related expenses and untold amounts of human suffering and misery. I realize this is an over simplification but it could and should be explored.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on May 15, 10 11:05 AM
Burn the crops and let them grow something healthier. Of course when the war is over everything will be destroyed anyway
By Grace (6), southampton on May 20, 10 11:23 PM
Apparently, you have never been touched by the plague of drug addiction. Yes, the US spends billions on intervention and prosecution of narcotics crimes. What you fail to mention is the millions of people who are victims of those who commit crimes to support their habits. What about those who kill and endanger others while operating motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs, do you have an answer for that? Ah, Hat Size always an opinion, never an answer….
I, for one, am happy and ...more
By K Aventi (33), Southampton on May 15, 10 12:13 PM
The schools are in more danger from Alcohol, but your comment is well taken. I applaud these guys for getting rid of whatever they can. It's a jungle out there.
By Grace (6), southampton on May 20, 10 11:27 PM
I'm glad something is being done. My brother, Tom, died from an accidental overdose of Heroin in 2007 in Hampton Bays. He had to get it from someone, somewhere. But I do agree that more needs to be done. If you can't line the perps up and shoot them, then put them all on an island, in the middle of nowhere, and give them their heroin and nothing else. Problem solved.
By Barbie793 (5), Hampton Bays on May 15, 10 12:50 PM
To K Aventi:

Opinion AVEC answer coming up:

1) Make all drugs except anti-biotics OTC drugs. Narcotics will hardly be worth selling since they are so cheap to manufacture the profit on each sale would be negligible. That will take care of dealers hanging around schoolyards with heroin on offer. There will be NO profit so there will be NO sales. If you want them, you could pick your narcotics up at drug stores or liquor stores, (no sales to minors), which would end the mobile ...more
By highhatsize (3959), East Quogue on May 15, 10 3:08 PM
Well said, a bit Draconian…but well said.

Dog and pony show? Maybe, I am assuming that law enforcement has to operate within the confines of the current system. The fact remains that 4500 bag of heroin is a sizable seizure, especially for the East End. Dealers wouldn’t have possession of those amounts if there was no thirst for it locally. Supply driven by demand and unadulterated greed.
By K Aventi (33), Southampton on May 15, 10 7:10 PM
We can debate the level of impact this bust may have in the long term, but let's congratlulate the police on a job well done in presumably risky circumstances Where there's drug money to protect, there are weapons to be used. Major or minor, and although we will never know for sure, let's assume the effort saved just one life, something to celebrate. But let's also keep the heat on the policians for bolder initiatives that strike closer to the heart--like purchasing Afganastan's crop and destrying ...more
By tim (2), westhampton on May 17, 10 9:04 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you Tim. I agree with you. All every one does on this website is bad mouth each other and anyone else they can. I say job well done by the police. It was a dangerous situation and any drugs taken off the streets is a good thing.
By MD (22), Southampton on May 18, 10 12:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
People !!! education prevention and speak with your children! ALL drugs and including prescription drugs I have seen the devastation of those as well..
By radioeuropa (8), east hampton on May 22, 10 1:50 PM