Six people, including a Town of Brookhaven employee, were busted Thursday for their participation in an alleged cocaine and Oxycodone ring and face serious penalties, including life in prison.
A joint investigation by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department began in January 2012, but law enforcement only began using wiretaps three months ago, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. Although wiretaps were used since September, Spota said the ring has been going on “probably a number of years,” and has been in operation since at least 2010.
The investigation revealed that cocaine and Oxycodone was sold to Town of Brookhaven employees as well as in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, gas station parking lots and bank parking lots. Much of the cocaine found was packaged in “bar bags" adorned with a Maltese cross emblem, and contained .5 grams to 1 gram of cocaine each.
The alleged ringleader was Thomas Forkin, 30, of Miller Place, who was indicted as a major narcotics trafficker, which makes him “subject to imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life,” Spota said.
“Forkin ran the cocaine and Oxydodone ring essentially from Coram down the Route 112 corridor into the villages of Port Jefferson, Setauket, Stony Brook, and on east to Rocky Point and to the west all the way down to Lake Grove,” he said.
The charges Forkin faces include operating as a major trafficker, second-degree conspiracy, first-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, six counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.
Spota said Forkin, a Brookhaven Town Highway worker, ran the ring on highway department time and from town-owned vehicles.
Thomas Gironda, a former NYPD officer with street narcotics in Queens County, allegedly stored the drugs for Forkin in his Setauket business, New Look Concrete.
Gironda, 44, of Setauket, faces felony charges that include second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Forkin’s top distributor of Oxycodone, according to Spota, was Anthony Perretta, 30, of Lake Grove.
Perretta, a welder by trade, faces charges that include second-degree conspiracy, a felony, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, which are both misdemeanors.
Johnny Vargas, 30, of South Setauket, was the main supplier of cocaine and seller of the cocaine in the nightclubs, according to Spota. During a search of Vargas’ home cocaine packaged for sale was found as well as scales and packaging materials.
Vargas, an electrician, faces charges that include second-degree conspiracy, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance — all felonies — and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.
Timothy Ruttura, 35, of South Setauket, is a heavy equipment operator in New York City, and according to Spota, would pay his coworkers to claim they had sustained injuries on the job to get prescriptions from doctors for Oxycodone, and would then sell it to Forkin.
Spota said Ruttura resisted arrest during the execution of the search warrant and tried to take a gun belonging to one of the emergency service police officers. During a struggle Ruttura sustained injuries.
Ruttura faces charges that include second-degree conspiracy, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia, third-degree attempted robbery, and resisting arrest.
Joseph Finch, 25, of Miller Place, allegedly sold the drugs throughout the nightclub scene in Port Jefferson, Stony Brook, Rocky Point and Setauket, Spota said. Finch faces a charge of second-degree conspiracy.
Not included in Forkin’s ring, but arrested during the investigation was Carlos Cabrera, 28, of Port Jefferson Station. Cabrera, who Spota said is a member of the Trinitarios street gang, allegedly sold cocaine in Port Jefferson and Port Jefferson Station. Cabrera faces three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
The investigation also revealed that Town of Brookhaven Highway Department employees, who are subject to random drug testing, could have been tipped-off when they would be tested.
Spota said there is a strong suspicion that the urine submitted by the employees tested did not belong to them.
Brookhaven’s Supervisor Ed Romaine said the highway department operates under its own union with its own testing policy and aside from the town budget the department is “essentially autonomous” from the town.
In response to what the investigation yielded, Romaine said he will meet with the highway superintendent “to discuss ways that we could tighten the procedures and protocols that the highway department uses.” These procedures will be revealed during the Jan. 3, 2013 Town of Brookhaven work session.
Spota said that weapons have also been seized during the investigation.
The investigation remains active.