MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that 17 people have been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly selling and trafficking heroin and cocaine throughout Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Upstate New York and other states over the last year and a half.
The 17 defendants are charged with various crimes in the eight-count indictment, including Operating as a Major Trafficker (an A-I felony), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 1st Degree (an A-I felony), Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree (a B felony), and other related charges. Lyonel Beaubrun is charged as Operating as a Major Trafficker and faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top charge.
Twelve defendants were arrested and arraigned before Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn yesterday. Four defendants are currently incarcerated and awaiting arraignment, while another defendant has yet to be apprehended.
As a result of the search warrants executed yesterday, investigators seized approximately three and a half kilograms of cocaine, four ounces of heroin, approximately $115,000 in cash, two defaced guns, money counters, kilogram presses, packaging equipment, a Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and a Richard Mille watch. In total, approximately five and a half kilograms in cocaine and approximately $190,000 in cash was seized during this investigation.
The arrests are a result of a long-term investigation by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
“Fourteen law enforcement agencies collaborated with my office’s dedicated investigators on this massive takedown that has dismantled what we allege to be a multi-state, cross country drug trafficking enterprise that pumped huge quantities of cocaine and deadly heroin into our communities and throughout the northeast,” DA Singas said. “Our partners at the federal, state and local level worked together seamlessly to uncover the novel smuggling methods used in this ‘family business’ and to shut it down before more lives were ruined by the poison these defendants supplied.”
DA Singas said that according to the eight-count indictment, Kervin Etienne, 37, Lyonel Beaubren, 41 and another relative founded a drug distribution operation that supplied large quantities of cocaine and heroin to 14 members of their crew. NCDA’s Special Operations and Narcotics Bureau began the investigation in March 2016 and discovered that the organization transported cocaine on commercial flights from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, to John F. Kennedy Airport. The three defendants allegedly stored the narcotics at various trap houses located in Queens and Nassau Counties. These drugs were transported by members of the organization to associates for distribution in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties.
The defendants, several of whom are related, allegedly distributed narcotics at the kilogram level with profits estimated at $50,000-$75,000 per week. The group allegedly supplied major dealers on Long Island, New York City, Upstate New York, Chicago, Maine, Maryland and Virginia. The family members drive luxury cars, such as Porsche, Mercedes and BMWs, and live and work together in four separate locations in Nassau and Queens Counties.
Prior to yesterday’s arrests, three car stops were executed that resulted in the seizure of approximately two kilograms of cocaine and more than $70,000. These seizures were executed on July 2, 2017, in Suffolk County, July 4, 2017, in Nassau County, and August 13, 2017, in Dorchester County, Maryland. In August, Kervin Etienne and Jacksem Phileppe were stopped by police on August 13, 2017 after conducting a narcotics transaction with a known broker in the Cambridge, Maryland area and $44,596 cash was recovered from their vehicle.
The defendants were arrested by members of the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York Police Department, the New York State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, United States Marshal Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States National Guard, New York State National Guard, the Nassau County Police Department, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryland State Police.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, “The arrests and indictments are another clear example of exceptional investigative work performed by numerous law enforcement agencies. A clear message is being sent to these drug dealers that we have no tolerance for this type of illegal activity and that we are focused on keeping our children and families safe no matter where you reside. The large quantities of these illegal narcotics being distributed is concerning and we have been able to take another organized narcotics ring and its members off the streets.”
James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, New York Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said, “This investigation unveiled a sophisticated smuggling scheme that used false sided suitcases to ship heroin and cocaine across the country. Once here, this criminal organization supplied user markets in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties as well as markets throughout the northeast. DEA offices in Long Island, Syracuse, Baltimore and Phoenix worked collaboratively with Nassau County District Attorney’s Office to identify and arrest the 17 members of this alleged drug trafficking network.”
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “The New York State Police will continue to work with and assist our law enforcement partners to shut down drug trafficking organizations in our state. These indictments are the result of a year and a half long investigation, that put a stop to the transportation of large quantities of drugs across state lines and into our communities. The work done by law enforcement has ultimately saved lives.”
“This crew trafficked large amounts of cocaine and heroin across state lines and into Long Island neighborhoods, and they did it with a complete disregard for law enforcement or the communities in which they live,” said Peter Fitzhugh, Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “HSI will continue to strengthen its relationships with partner law enforcement agencies, like the Nassau County DA’s Office, to investigate these types of drug trafficking crews and bring them to justice.”
The case is being prosecuted by NCDA’s Special Operations, Narcotics and Gang Bureau.
This case was named Operation Gillespie in honor of NCDA Special Investigator William Gillespie, who passed away on July 5 at the age of 56, shortly after making arrests in this case. Billy dedicated his life to protecting others as a decorated member of the NYPD and as an NCDA investigator. Billy made invaluable contributions to this case and thousands of others throughout his distinguished career, and we miss our valued colleague and dear friend.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.
Defendants Arraigned Addendum:
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