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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Husband of Cop Among Those Arrested in Heroin Ring

Dean’s List student, husband of cop and Rikers inmate all busted in heroin ring
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - March 13, 2012
FBI raids in Brooklyn, Long Island collar dealers from all walks of life - United States Attorney Loretta Lynch announces busts in heroin ring that spanned the region.

THE HUSBAND of an NYPD cop and a retired Suffolk County officer were members of a motley crew of heroin dealers charged Tuesday with peddling dope, authorities said. FBI agents staged early-morning raids in Long Island and Brooklyn arresting 17 perps and seizing a small amount of drugs and cash. Three others were already being held in custody. Prosecutors said the three-year investigation, dubbed "Operation County Connection," had been launched in response to an alarming rise in heroin use and overdoses on Long Island. The leader of the ring, Jose Perez, oversaw the trafficking of heroin that was imported from the Dominican Republic and Mexico, then distributed from the crew's base in Woodhaven, Queens, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles Rose and Licha Nyiendo. Perez's crew's members are a varied bunch of characters. Leonardo Lopez, 25, is married to a city cop, but sources said there is no evidence that she was a co-conspirator. The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating whether Lopez was using his wife's cell phone to make drug deals. Roland Stern, 68, a retired member of the Suffolk County marine bureau, and his daughter Corey, 37, worked together selling heroin in Patchogue, L.I., court papers state. Roland Stern, who is known as "Pops," was intercepted on more than 300 wiretaps. Kathryn Pappas, 21, of Jericho is a student at Hofstra University and made the Dean's List in the fall 2010 semester. Kenneth Suarez was directing drug transactions by phone while in custody at Riker's Island. Dana Sollecito, 23, was dealing from the parking lot of her family's restaurant, Corner Gallery, in Massapequa. A married couple were also arrested. "The charges and arrests announced today have ended the activities of an alleged heroin distribution organization whose members were drawn from a variety of backgrounds but were united by a common cause," said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. "Profiting personally while seriously endangering the lives of so many residents in our communities," she said.

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