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Village Board votes to terminate highway department employee arrested on drug charges

A Greenport employee arrested on multiple felony drug charges was formally terminated from his position with the Village Highway Department at a village board meeting last Thursday. 

Cory McKnight, 34, was arrested with his brother Tre McKnight, 28, at their Madison Avenue home earlier this month when officers with the East End Drug Task Force executed a search warrant. According to copies of criminal complaints, officers found cocaine, heroin and other drugs. 

Village records show Cory McKnight was hired in early May under a “standard twenty-six week Suffolk County Civil Service probationary period.” Trustees Julia Robins and Mary Bess Phillips abstained from the vote to confirm the termination of Mr. McKnight from his position last Thursday night, with the rest of the village board voting in favor. According to the resolution, his employment was terminated on Sept. 13.

Ms. Phillips, who was not present at the previous week’s work session, said she did not have enough information to vote. Ms. Robins emphasized to a reporter after the meeting that while Mr. McKnight has been charged, he has not been convicted. 

“I’ve known him since he was a little boy, known him basically his whole life. He was charged, but not convicted. I thought in this country, an accusation isn’t a conviction,” she said.

Cory McKnight and his brother were represented by a Legal Aid Society attorney during an arraignment before Town Justice Daniel Ross on Sept. 9. Both were released without bail on their own recognizance. 

Cory McKnight said he had no prior arrests and told the judge he would hire his own attorney. Tre McKnight said he was unemployed and also had no prior arrests. Both brothers said they are lifelong Greenport residents. 

During the search of their village home, police recovered a semi-automatic pistol and charged Tre McKnight with criminal possession of a firearm. He also faces third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, according to the complaint, which adds that the cocaine was found in a “manner consistent with the street level narcotic packaging and it was near one digital scale that is also consistent with narcotic scales.” Those are all felonies.

Tre McKnight additionally faces a charge of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for heroin found at the house, as well as possession of psilocybin mushrooms and oxycodone.

Cory McKnight faces felony charges of fourth-degree and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance related to the cocaine found at the home. 

Justice Ross said Tre McKnight would be subject to supervision by county authorities, citing the presence of a gun.

Both men are due back in court Sept. 28.

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