Greenport neighborhood still reeling from drug arrests

Neighbors of a Greenport couple facing felony narcotics charges said they were shocked and overwhelmed — first by the swarm of law enforcement that descended on their neighborhood one day last month, and later by the results of the investigation.

“There were police cars from here to the end of the block, and police dogs,” said one neighbor who lives across the street. “Everybody is in disbelief that this was going on.”

Authorities said a search of the Wilmarth Ave. home yielded 234 grams of fentanyl and 44 grams of cocaine, stored in a kitchen cabinet beside brownie mix and ice cream cones, with the couple’s 2-year-old child in the house.

Investigators also recovered drug packaging material, a digital scale, numerous cell phones and more than $50,000 in cash, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney — who earlier this week announced the indictments of Tammy Webster, 33, and Victoria Webster, 30 on felony drug charges.

On Dec. 5, Southold police and members of the district attorney’s East End Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at the home. As officers approached the blue vinyl, two-story house, Tammy Webster was observed seated inside her vehicle parked in the driveway, allegedly in possession of fentanyl and cocaine. When law enforcement officers entered the residence, they saw Victoria Webster with the couple’s two-year-old child, according to Mr. Tierney.

In interviews with eight neighbors, who each requested anonymity so they could speak freely, all of them said they were stunned by the arrests. None reported ever seeing unusual activity at the home. Several said they had known one of the suspects since she was a child growing up in the same house where the two women were arrested.   

A man who answered the door at the Webster’s home declined comment.     

 One woman who lives on the block was heading out for a pack of cigarettes when she passed the house on the day of the arrests, and saw the police activity inside.

 “I remember thinking, ‘Oh God, I hope nothing happened’” to the home’s residents, who she knows.

Another neighbor said authorities cordoned off the whole block. He recalled observing one of the women exiting the house in handcuffs. “It’s a shame,” he said. “How can anyone be so careless around a kid?”

A mother on the block agreed.  

“I think it’s sad for the child,” said the woman, who leaves for work at 3 a.m. most mornings and said she had never seen any suspicious activity at or near the house.

Still, she acknowledged, cradling her baby on one arm, “It definitely makes me want to lock my doors and windows.”

A woman up the street said Victoria Webster’s maiden name is Staples, and that she grew up in the home where she was arrested. The woman said Victoria Webster went to Greenport High School and spent a lot of time with the woman’s daughter when they were young. “She was over here all the time,” the woman said. “She was a great kid.”  

“We were all in shock” when the arrests took place, she added. “We never expected Victoria to be involved in anything like this.”

Both women were charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, a class A-I felony, as well as one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor. Among other counts, Tammy Webster was charged with four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell. Victoria Webster received two counts on the same charge.

Yet another neighbor said she was flummoxed by the news.

“We love Victoria. She grew up in the neighborhood. I’m disappointed in a way I never expected,” she said, gazing down the street towards the Webster home. “It’s a surprise.”

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s East End Drug Task Force includes members of the district attorney’s office, East Hampton, Riverhead, Southampton, Southold, Suffolk County and New York State police departments, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.