01/20/15 4:00pm
01/20/2015 4:00 PM
Melanie Stafford speaks at a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (far right), state Senator John Flanagan (second from right) and family members of hit-and-run victims. Ms. Stafford's uncle was killed in 2012 while crossing the street in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Melanie Stafford speaks at a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday with Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota (far right), state Senator John Flanagan (second from right) and family members of hit-and-run victims. Ms. Stafford’s uncle was killed in 2012 while crossing the street in downtown Riverhead. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and the families of hit-and-run victims are calling on state lawmakers to increase penalties for those convicted of fleeing the scene of a fatal accident.

Mr. Spota and members of several families, including a relative of Scott Wayte — the Brookhaven man who was struck and killed in 2012 while crossing East Main Street in downtown Riverhead — held a press conference in Hauppauge Tuesday, saying they want the state to increase the maxiumn sentence for fatal hit-and-run crimes from seven years to 15 years in prison.  (more…)

09/18/14 11:38am
09/18/2014 11:38 AM
Village officials had given commercial fishing boat captain Sid Smith notice that he'd have to leave the railroad dock, but now appear to have reversed course. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Village officials had given commercial fishing boat captain Sid Smith notice that he’d have to leave the railroad dock, but now appear to have reversed course. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A Southampton attorney representing Greenport commercial fishing captain Sid Smith has requested that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office investigate the village’s method of collecting and sharing information.

Attorney Dan Rodgers submitted a complaint to the DA last Thursday after the village clerk denied his client several Freedom of Information Law requests. It claims the village has failed to keep accurate long-term records of its collections fees from users of the railroad dock on Third Street.

Related: Boat captain says village is out to get him (more…)

06/17/14 4:00pm
06/17/2014 4:00 PM
Riverhead Police Chief David Hergemiller (left) joined SCDA Thomas Spota at Tuesday's press conference to unveil a plan to combact drunken drivers. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller (left) joined SCDA Thomas Spota at Tuesday’s press conference to unveil a plan to combat drunken drivers. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

East End law enforcement agencies joined Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota Tuesday afternoon to unveil a plan to bolster sobriety checkpoints on land and at sea this summer.

The East End DWI Task Force will conduct additional checkpoints aimed at cracking down on drunken an drug impaired drivers and boaters, Mr. Spota announced during a press conference at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Hampton Bays.

(more…)

04/02/14 2:48pm
04/02/2014 2:48 PM
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota holds up a bag of heroin seized during a drug raid that busted an alleged heroin network. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota holds up a bag of heroin seized during a drug raid that busted an alleged heroin network during a press conference Wednesday morning. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A Riverhead woman is one of 14 people accused of dealing heroin in a network of drug rings that pumped about $3.6 million worth of drugs into Suffolk County, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

“This is probably one of the most prolific operations [we] have seen in many, many a year,” Mr. Spota said at a press conference Wednesday morning. (more…)

02/19/14 2:24pm
02/19/2014 2:24 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | District attorney Thomas Spota points to the suspects arrested in a heroin trafficking ring at a press conference Wednesday.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | District attorney Thomas Spota points to the suspects arrested in a heroin trafficking ring at a press conference Wednesday.

A collaboration between police forces has broken up a massive heroin ring that ferried a “pure, strong and very sought-after” brand of the drug to Riverhead from East Harlem, authorities said.

Nine men, including four from Riverhead and one from Calverton, were arrested for their roles in the ring after an investigation by the East End Drug Task Force that lasted over a year, District Attorney Thomas Spota said.  (more…)

02/18/14 10:21pm
02/18/2014 10:21 PM
(File photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. (File photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota is expected to announce details tomorrow about an East End Drug Task Force bust involving five Riverhead men dealing heroin stamped with the word “Hollywood,” according to a press release.

(more…)

04/18/13 7:04am
04/18/2013 7:04 AM
Robert Love (inset) has pleaded guilty to

DA PHOTO | Robert Love (inset) has pleaded guilty to charges related to a drug trafficking ring.

The Riverhead ex-con who helped run a sophisticated cocaine ring between New York City and Riverhead has pleaded guilty to felony drug and conspiracy charges for his role in the drug-smuggling operation, according to court records.

Robert Love, 59, copped to second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class A felony, and third-degree conspiracy, a class D felony, during a Wednesday court appearance, records show.

Mr. Love and his alleged co-conspirators — identified by authorities as Miguel Matos, 45, and Radames “Ray” Melendez, 22, both of the Bronx — ferried more than three kilos of drugs a week on average to the East End using hidden compartments in three vehicles to transport the drugs, authorities have said.

Mr. Love received about a kilo of cocaine, worth roughly $37,000 each, every other day, said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. He then broke the kilos into gram-sized pieces and sold them in Riverhead, Greenport, Flanders and Southampton for $50 and $60 a gram.

Authorities said the cocaine operation was one of the largest in East End history.

Mr. Love was on parole while he operated the ring, after being previously convicted of cocaine sale and possession.

He was released from prison in December 2009, but was arrested with the other two Bronx men on June 13 by Riverhead Town police.

Mr. Love tried to flee police and threw a kilo of cocaine over a fence when police arrested him at his Riverhead home, authorities said after the arrest.

The drug charge to which Mr. Love pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for a second-time offender, and he faces up to seven years in prison for the conspiracy charge. He will be sentenced May 24, court records show. He is currently being held at the Suffolk County jail on $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail for sentencing.

Mr. Matos, whom officials identified as a “major player” in the drug world and the mastermind behind the operation, is being held on $2 million bond or $1 million cash bail and is due in court on April 30.

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04/10/13 2:30pm
04/10/2013 2:30 PM

Greenport resident Genny David is accused of embezzling $400,000 from her Deer Park employers.

A Greenport woman accused of embezzling more than $400,000 from two Deer Park companies where she worked as a bookkeeper is to be arraigned next week on felony grand larceny charges, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Genny David, 37, was employed by Modern Packaging Inc. and PDF Seal and was in charge of entering payroll information, according to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota. She was arrested on Dec. 13, 2012 and accused of using her access to reactivate payroll for former employees and having payroll checks for the phantom workers deposited directly into her personal bank account.

She is to be arraigned in County Criminal Court in Riverhead before Judge Martin Efman, Mr. Clifford said.

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03/20/13 8:00am
03/20/2013 8:00 AM

A crack cocaine possession charge lodged against a Mattituck man last summer was dropped after he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Southold Town Justice Court on March 8, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Glenn Milowski, 39, was stopped for a traffic violation on Route 25 in Laurel at 1 a.m. on Aug. 3 and arrested after police reported finding him in possession of the drug. He was also ticketed for driving without the vehicle headlights on.

After entering the guilty plea, he received a conditional discharge for driving under the influence. If Mr. Milowski, who had his license suspended, is caught driving without a license or is hit with another driving under the influence charge within six months, he’ll return to court to be sentenced to six months in jail, according to Robert Clifford, spokesman for District Attorney Tom Spota.

Mr. Milowski maintains the driving under the influence charge stems from his taking a prescription medication.

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09/14/12 4:00pm
09/14/2012 4:00 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO |  Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota speaks at a press conference Friday at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Hampton Bays.

The Suffolk County East End DWI Task Force plans to expand its mission to cover Boating While Intoxicated crimes next summer, after a successful inaugural summer of DWI checkpoints on the East End.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced the effort at a press conference at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Hampton Bays Friday afternoon.

“We just the other day decided the time had come when we had to do this,” said Mr. Spota, who said he had just recently been involved in the indictment of a man who killed a father of two when he was in a waterway channel going the wrong way at an excessive rate of speed. “I will deputize all the officers so they can cross local boundaries.”

Mr. Spota said the Coast Guard will also play a major role in the effort.

“All agencies will participate, even those that don’t have a boat,” he said. “We have to be as aggressive as we are on the land.”

Mr. Spota said the D.A.’s office will use the proceeds from assets seized from criminals to fund overtime expenses for local departments, as well as state grant money and fees that Suffolk County receives from people who are convicted of DWI.

“The residents of the East End will not be paying a nickel for this effort,” he said.

Mr. Spota added that the DWI Task Force checkpoints, which began Memorial Day Weekend throughout the East End and have netted numerous arrests each weekend, will continue on designated weekends through the end of this year.

Mr. Spota said he had personally spent 11 years as a homicide prosecutor consoling families who couldn’t understand how a drunk driver had ruined their family’s life.

He also thanked representatives from the East End police departments who participated in the effort, many of whom were at the press conference.

“The very worst part of policing is bearing the burden of knocking on that door to bear that terrible news,” he said.

“They say success has many fathers but failure is an orphan,” he said. “We have a lot of proud fathers here. As district attorney, I’m deeply grateful for their enthusiasm and cooperation.”

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