An alleged drug dealer charged in connection to at least two fatal overdoses will now face upgraded manslaughter charges, according to court records.
Lavain Creighton, 51, of Greenport faces a slew of additional charges following a grand jury indictment and is set to be arraigned on those charges Friday in Suffolk County Court.
Mr. Creighton faces two counts of second-degree manslaughter, a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to the records. District Attorney Timothy Sini said at an Aug. 19 press conference that Mr. Creighton could face those upgraded charges, the highest charge a suspect can currently face in this type of case.
Mr. Creighton was arraigned in Southold Town Justice Court Aug. 19 on the initial arrest charges of six felony counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was remanded without bail by Southold Justice Daniel Ross.
Mr. Creighton also faces multiple felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for cocaine and additional counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
The DA said Aug. 19 that the investigation so far has connected Mr. Creighton to two of the fatal overdoses and the investigation is ongoing into his role in at least two additional fatal overdoses. A total of six people died over a span of a few days in August due to cocaine laced with fentanyl.
A message left with a spokesperson for Mr. Sini was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon. There were no upgraded charges listed yet for Justin Smith of Smithtown, whom prosecutors described as the supplier of drugs to Mr. Creighton.
Manslaughter charges in fatal overdose cases have been rare in Suffolk County. When Mr. Sini announced manslaughter charges in March 2019 against two men for supplying heroin cut with fentanyl to a Riverhead man who fatally overdosed, it was only the third time in Suffolk County history that the charge was brought against drug dealers in connection to a fatal overdose. One suspect in that case, Bryan Hale of Flanders, pleaded guilty to manslaughter while Lashawn Lawrence of Greenport was acquitted of the top charge at trial.
Mr. Sini and local lawmakers on Aug. 19 called for the a proposed “death by dealer” law that would allow prosecutors to charge drug dealers with homicide in cases of fatal overdoses.