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DA: 'Kingpin' Operated Massive Drug Ring Out of Riverhead Home

Approximately a dozen arrests expected, authorities say.

The "kingpin" behind a major drug ring that distributed cocaine across the East End was operating out of his Riverhead home, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said on Tuesday.

"This was clearly a multimillion dollar operation," Spota said.

Robert Love, 58, of 29 Oakland Drive South, was allegedly involved in a Bronx-to-Riverhead drug ring delivering up to 3 kilos a week of powder cocaine; hidden "traps" were used to hide drugs in cars during runs, police say.

Spota held to announce the dismantling of the ring.

According to Spota, Love was convicted for sale and possession of cocaine in 2003 and was sentenced in 2003 to 10 years in a New York State Correctional Facility, with a release date of 2014. In 2009, Spota said, Love "convinced a parole board that he had seen the light and that he was rehabilitated. That light has quickly faded."

An investigation by the East End Drug Task Force that began last November resulted in the bust; two were arraigned at Suffolk County criminal court on Tuesday on grand jury indictments.

The D.A. announced  in February of last year, arresting close to 20 individuals.

Judge Martin Efman was expected on Tuesday to unseal the indictments of the alleged "ringleaders" of the drug ring, Love and Miguel Matos, 45, of Hughes Avenue in the Bronx.

Matos, Spota said, is a "huge" cocaine distributor.

Both men are currently in custody, as is Matos' son-in-law Radames "Ray" Melendez, 22, who Spota said acted as the "runner" or courier for the group, delivering cocaine to Love in Riverhead and collecting cash for his return to New York. Melendez, of Honeywell Avenue in the Bronx, was also slated to be arraigned Tuesday morning on a grand jury indictment.

According to Spota, Love would pay Matos approximately $37,500 per kilo — the kilos were pressed into bricks at a "tabletop operation" set up in Matos' Bronx apartment, where cameras were set up to ensure no stealing of the drugs took place during packaging — and then resold by Love in gram-sized packages that cost $50 to $60 to customers in Riverhead, Flanders, Greenport, Hampton Bays and Southampton.

Many customers would come to Love's Riverhead home, said Spota, who did not disclose other areas where the drugs were sold. When he was apprehended, Spota said Love threw a brick of cocaine over a fence.

Matos drove the drugs to Riverhead or western Suffolk County to meet Love, who never drove to the Bronx to pick up the cocaine, Spota said. The drugs were transported in a blue Hyundai and a red Ford Focus that had concealed traps that could be opened by pressing buttons on the air conditioner, hazard lights and windshield wipers in sequence.

A Bible was found among the evidence, Spota said. "He was praying that the cops wouldn't find him. He didn't read it enough."

Spota said a Suffolk County grand jury indicted Love and Matos on a rarely used statue of "kingpin." Love was charged with one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from sale, an A1 felony, one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from possession, an A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, an A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class B felony, and one count of conspiracy in the second degree, a B felony.

Matos was charged with one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from sale, an A1 felony, one count of operating as a major trafficker as a profiteer from possession, an A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, an A2 felony, one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, an A2 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class B felony, and one count of conspiracy in the second degree, a class B felony.

The defendants could face from 15 to 25 years to life in prison for the class A1 felonies, Spota said.

Melendez was charged with one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree, a class A1 felony, one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, a class A1 felony, and one count of conspiracy in the second degree, a class B felony — and could face between eight and 20 years in jail, Spota said.

Spota thanked Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller, Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley and Southampton Town Police Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa, as well as Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, for their efforts in the seven-month investigation.

During the investigation, eight search warrants were issued and East End Drug Task force detectives seized 13 cars; in three of the vehicles, authorities said they found hidden traps used by runners to store cocaine and cash during runs to and from New York City. Wiretaps were used in the investigation, Spota said.

Spota said up to a dozen arrests are expected in total. "This is a great day for Suffolk County law enforcement."

Jaguar-Guy July 31, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Let's hope all the evidence obtained was legal, and not "fruit of the poisonous tree".
Algebra July 31, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Do you have a clue as to what you are talking about Jaguat dude?
Dennis July 31, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Take out the trash };o)
Kaiser Sose July 31, 2012 at 06:56 PM
The drug kingpin didn't do this on his own. There are roads and bridges who are responsible for this profitable drug business
Kaiser Sose July 31, 2012 at 06:59 PM
If the president had a son he would look like this hard working drug kingpin
Kaiser Sose July 31, 2012 at 07:00 PM
This drug kingpin deserves a shot at doing the drug king pinning that lazy Americans won't do.
Algebra July 31, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Would I be the first person today to tell you that you ate a racist ahole, Kaiser
Umpire July 31, 2012 at 10:02 PM
So it was the drug kingpin's fault that the parole board let him out of prison? What kind of knucklead is Spota? He is trumpeting the catch of a dirtbag that if his people did their job right would still be in prison for another 2 years? This is nothing more than a prime example of the corruption, graft , laziness and criminal element that typifies those in charge of enforcing the laws.
GLENN July 31, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Did he pay taxes that's all that I care about. No love for Robert
Walter S July 31, 2012 at 10:49 PM
So now we all get to pay the taxes to keep these guys in jail. 70k (conservative number) per year per inmate times three kingpins times twenty years = 4.2 million. Anyone who thinks their taxes are too high should reevaluate this war on drugs because we are all paying dearly for it at a cost of 1 trillion annually which Nixon started with a 50k budget.
Nicole Leggon August 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM
First off all if none of u know what ur talkin about don't add ur comment! @umpire... Dirtbag, really??? All you ppl are just as stupid as the assholes who are reporting this bullshit, to be listening to it. As the neighbor said she had no idea this is a nice man who helped her when she needed it! So if this was a multi million dollar operation how could the neighbors not know! Really??? If u don't know a person character, don't add ur negative comments! You ppl kill me.
Nicole Leggon August 02, 2012 at 12:25 AM
@annmarie... Worry about whether or not ur taxes are paid! @joanna... Teach ur children better and you won't need 2 concern ur self wIth any of this!!! All of you are jokes in my book!
North Fork Bob August 02, 2012 at 02:45 PM
You got that right Jag
North Fork Bob August 02, 2012 at 02:49 PM
He does I guess you don't.Problems with drug convictions in SH
North Fork Bob August 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM
The Police have little to do with parole boards that are upstate
North Fork Bob August 02, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Annmarie this mutt cost us a ton of tax money for every day in prison,parole and court.Not to mention the people he helped to become addicted.So they would eventually go to court,prison etc.
North Fork Bob August 02, 2012 at 03:14 PM
We feel the same about you Nicole.Thanks for checking in
Algebra August 03, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Bob Fraser, DO you know what "fruits of the poisonus tree" are?
Algebra August 03, 2012 at 12:57 AM
So Robert, whose criminal history goes back to 1979, is reeally a good person? I shoulda known. I guess he was "working on turning his life around"
North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Algebra yes I do.Problems in the SH Police dept.They had to let 2 convicted drug dealers out of prison.So far
North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 01:17 AM
You go to prison to learn the ins and outs of the drug trade and make contacts
North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Nicole use your very limited IQ.The neighbor has to live there.Who else is in that neighborhood could do her harm?
Vince Isola August 03, 2012 at 02:57 AM
System needs to change.You get one chance if you get caught your in jail forever. Cons should pay there way in jail. Caught with drugs goodbye. DWI goodbye jail forever our society is to forgiving. WE need toughfer penalties
North Fork Bob August 03, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Vince how would you feel if your 20 year old got a DWI?Prison for life? We have more people in prison than any other Country in the World. What's the answer? I don't know.Proper parenting would help.Rikers has hundreds of what used to be crack babies.Now 16 to 19 years old.They are impossible to deal with.
Vince Isola August 03, 2012 at 10:12 AM
All I know is the news is full repeat offenders

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