Police

Greenport man accused of selling drugs that led to overdose deaths indicted in federal court: Attorney

A Greenport man who allegedly sold cocaine mixed with fentanyl to two men who died of an overdose last year has been indicted in federal court, his attorney confirmed.

Lavain Creighton is now facing a mandatory 20 years in prison if convicted, said criminal defense attorney Lane Bubka of Riverhead.

While the contents of the indictment have not been made public, a spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office confirmed that Mr. Creighton is now facing federal charges. As a result, the state’s case against him has been dismissed, Mr. Bubka said.

John Marzulli, a spokesperson for the Eastern District Court of New York, declined comment on the alleged federal case against Mr. Creighton.

News of the federal indictment comes just shy of four months after Mr. Creighton had a manslaughter charge against him dropped in state court.

In his March decision to dismiss the top charge against Mr. Creighton, Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge John Collins said, “the People did not present legally sufficient evidence to demonstrate whether defendant was aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and justifiable risk that death would result from his alleged actions of selling cocaine mixed with fluoro-fentanyl to decedents, and that the risk constituted a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

Former Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini had linked Mr. Creighton directly to the death of Swainson Brown, the former chef at the Pridwin Hotel on Shelter Island, and Matthew Lapiana of East Marion.

Mr. Creighton was still facing 14 other charges in connection with the sale of the drugs to the two men, who were among six local residents who overdosed in a one-week period in August 2021, but the top charges pending against him featured a minimum 10 years in prison. Under federal law, sellers and suppliers of drugs that cause death or serious bodily injury face a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence.

A pair of Riverhead men were indicted by a federal grand jury in May for also allegedly selling the cocaine and fentanyl that led to four deaths during the same string of overdoses. Marquis Douglas, 36, and Jesse Pace, 38, are accused of conspiring to distribute fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine over a seven-year period, according to the indictment and a press release from the Eastern District Court of New York. They are both due back in court Wednesday.

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