After an eight month investigation, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spotta says that authorities have broken up "one of the largest cocaine smuggling operations" in New York. According to Spotta the "pretty ingenious" operation smuggled cocaine from LA to NY via normal car truck transports loaded with luxury cars. Inside those cars the group has allegedly for at least five years been hiding their wares (mostly booger sugar) in secret compartments. Four New York men have been arrested for their roles in the operation while the "California kingpin" of the operation is on the lam in LA.
The men—"local kingpin" Robert Perticone, 30, along with Richard Occhino, 46, Theodore Katsanos, 29, and Jose Tejada, 33—are being held on preliminary charges that are expected to be upgraded once the case goes to grand jury. When the police finally pulled the trigger on their investigation last month they managed to seize "$3 million worth of cocaine, $900,000 in cash, steroids, money counters and other paraphernalia from several locations. Also seized were eight vehicles, including a Mercedes-Benz and two Cadillac SUVs." According to authorities the trucking companies that would move the drug-filled luxury cars were unaware of the secret cargos.
"To give you an idea of the money generated by this ring," Spota said at a press conference yesterday, "They were purchasing the cocaine in California for $20,500 per kilo—and then selling it in the streets of Suffolk County for a price approximately five times that amount once the cocaine was cut and prepared for distribution."
Neighbors of the local ringleader at least weren't that surprised by the news. Describing Perticone as "a plumber who lived a lavish lifestyle, with expensive cars, an elaborate home security system and wild backyard parties." More specifically, one neighbor said, "I just had a feeling all that wasn't coming from just plumbing."