Dozens of people have been arrested in connection with a major narcotics trafficking ring on Long Island.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced on Monday afternoon, March 15, the 40 were indicted as part of “Operation Honeycomb” for their alleged involvement in the ring with operates in the Hempstead area.
The ring was undercovered after the District Attorney’s Office, along with the ATF started investigating an increase of violence and drug-dealing in the Hempstead area in October 2019.
After several drug and gun purchases, the DA’s office applied for electronic eavesdropping warrants in February 2020 for the purpose of identifying large-scale narcotic suppliers in the Hempstead area.
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged in March 2020 and as a result, the cost of cocaine began to vary widely, with demand vastly exceeding supply. Cocaine prices rose from approximately $32,000 per kilogram to a peak of $55,000 per kilogram in August 2020.
Five defendants allegedly sold a cocktail of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. One defendant allegedly cut heroin with fentanyl and morphine.
As the investigation expanded, nine individuals emerged as alleged major traffickers:
- Able McTootle
- Eric Butler
- Willy Matias
- Allen Evans
- Eric Poston
- Matthew Williams a/k/a Vernon Howard
- Orlando Ramsay
- Rodney Highsmith
- An unapprehended co-defendant.
The nine allegedly acted as major suppliers to numerous smaller dealers in Nassau County and variously worked together to obtain and distribute narcotics.
Prosecutors allege that drugs were trafficked from as far away as Puerto Rico, as well as California, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
During the execution of two search warrants, officers learned that two defendants, Lex Lloyd and an un-apprehended co-defendant, allegedly conducted narcotics business from daycare centers in Hempstead and Rosedale.
Approximately 520 grams of cocaine, 50 oxycodone pills, two narcotics presses, and bullets were recovered from Lloyd’s residence on Pierson Avenue in Hempstead.
An additional 100 grams of cocaine and 100 grams of crack cocaine were allegedly recovered from the un-apprehended co-defendant’s residence in Rosedale.
One defendant allegedly used the mail to send three kilograms of cocaine that were recovered during this operation.
In total, the street value of the narcotics seized is estimated to be approximately $2,772,000.
As a result of the investigation, the following items were recovered through search warrants and car stops:
- 38 firearms, including assault weapons and ammunition
- 9.5 kilograms of nearly pure cocaine – 31,000 doses
- 1.5 kilograms of crack cocaine – 5,000 doses
- More than one kilogram of heroin – 36,000 doses
- 250 grams of fentanyl – enough to provide 36,000 fatal doses
- 210 grams of morphine – 42,000 doses
- More than $380,000 in cash
“This massive multi-agency takedown strikes a heavy blow to the narcotics trafficking infrastructure in our region,” Singas said.
As of Monday morning, 33 defendants charged in this indictment have been apprehended and/or arraigned.
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