MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Freeport man was convicted yesterday of 15 major felony counts, which included Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, and several weapon charges, after large quantities of drugs, guns and cash were found inside his burning apartment in September 2016.
Tony McClam, 49, was convicted by a jury of:
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony)
- Four counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony)
- Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree (a D felony)
- Two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C violent felony)
- Three counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (a D felony)
- Three counts of Criminal Possession of a Firearm (an E felony)
The trial, before Judge Howard Sturim, lasted one month and the jury deliberated for approximately three-and-a-half hours. The defendant is due back for sentencing May 8, and faces a potential maximum of 39 years in prison.
“This defendant possessed huge quantities of drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, guns and almost a half million dollars in cash as part of the business of selling poison in our communities,” DA Singas said. “It took a fire to expose this operation and a jury to hold him responsible for it. I am committed to stopping the flow of drugs in Nassau County and this conviction is another step toward that goal.”
DA Singas said on September 24, 2016, at about 7:50 pm, NCPD detectives and Freeport Police officers responded to a fire in an apartment at the Wharfside Condominiums located on Miller Avenue in Freeport. When the first responding officer arrived, who was also a volunteer firefighter, he grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran towards the location of the fire. When he pushed the apartment’s front door open, the defendant came running out of the apartment and tried to wrestle the extinguisher away from the officer, then ran back inside the burning apartment.
Shortly after that incident, the fire department arrived and extinguished the blaze. While inside the apartment, firefighters found two speakers filled with money, drugs and guns.
After detectives questioned the defendant at the scene, he fled on foot and was not found and arrested until October 18, 2016. Following the execution of a search warrant on the apartment, police found a total of:
- Three firearms
- Approximately 10 pounds of marijuana
- Approximately one-and-a-half kilograms of a combination of heroin and fentanyl
- Approximately one kilogram of fentanyl
- Approximately three ounces of heroin
- Four digital scales
- A money counter
- Homemade candles (used for the concealment of money and drugs)
- Approximately $446,280 cash
The street level value of the seized drugs totaled approximately $407,000.
Nassau County Fire Marshals determined the fire started in the apartment’s HVAC system.
Assistant District Attorneys Jhounelle Cunningham and Michelle Lewisohn of DA Singas’ Special Operations, Narcotics and Gangs Bureau are prosecuting this case. Michael DerGarabedian, Esq. represents the defendant.