Police will execute more search warrants and make more arrests at known hotspots for drug activity under a new initiative officials announced over the weekend.
The same day police arrested a father and son and seized more than a kilogram of drugs from the father’s home, the Suffolk County Police Department said it is focusing more on shutting down houses in residential areas where drug activity is suspected to be taking place.
That father-son pair was nabbed on Jan. 29, police said, after investigators executed a search warrant on a Coram home and found 730 grams of cocaine, 318 grams of heroin, 36 grams of oxycodone and $200,000 in cash. It was just the most recent in a string of busts through the initiative, which uses detectives from the Special Operations Team “to work with residents to obtain information on who is dealing and where,” according to an SCPD statement. “Armed with that information, detectives will be executing more search warrants of drug houses and making felony arrests at those locations.”
The effort is “fueled in part by residents’ complaints,” the SCPD said in the recent press release.
Police officials at a Jan. 26 civic meeting at the Comsewogue Public Library in Port Jefferson Station had reported raids at three local drug houses in the week leading up to the meeting, two in Gordon Heights and one in Centereach. At the latter location, 6th Precinct Inspector Bill Murphy said, cops busted a repeat offender and caught him with 4 ounces of cocaine and 2 ounces of heroin.
“He’s going away for a long time,” Murphy said.
In the police department’s announcement of its new initiative, it said investigators had executed nine search warrants in the several weeks since the effort started, seizing thousands of grams of drugs — including crack cocaine and heroin — as well as seven guns, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and drug paraphernalia.
“This new narcotics initiative will target residences where drug dealing is occurring,” Acting Police Commissioner Tim Sini said in a statement. “Drug houses in our neighborhoods degrade our sense of community, public safety and quality of life.”
In the Jan. 29 bust, 40-year-old Joseph Fearon, who police said lived at the Avalon Pines Drive home, was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, four counts of third-degree criminal possession and two counts of second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia.
Fearon’s attorney, Central Islip-based Glenn Obedin, did not return a call seeking a comment on his client.
The defendant’s son, 23-year-old Jasheme Fearon, a Middle Island resident, was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree criminal impersonation. Police also said that he was arrested on a New York State parole warrant and a bench warrant.
Attorney information for the younger Fearon was not available.
Drug activity can create spikes in other types of crimes. At the civic meeting last week in the Comsewogue library, Murphy said overall crime has dropped in his precinct but heroin arrests have doubled in the last five years — from 148 in 2011 to 298 last year — and the addicts are behind many of the area’s burglaries and robberies.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the serious crimes we have are driven by drug abuse: [The perpetrators are] addicted to heroin and they’re so addicted to it, they have to get money to go and buy these drugs,” he said.
He and Officer Will Gibaldi invited Port Jefferson Station and Terryville residents at the civic meeting, including some who expressed their frustrations and fears relating to local drug activity, to reach out to them if they have a problem in their neighborhoods.
“If you contact me with a problem, you will get a response,” the inspector said. “You will not be ignored.”
The police’s new drug-house initiative is likewise geared toward responding to community members’ concerns.
“Working together with our law enforcement partners and sharing information is imperative to getting dangerous drugs off our streets and out of our communities,” Legislator Sarah Anker said in a statement about the crackdown on community drug dealing. “If you see something, say something.”