Nicholas Hernandez, Erica Santana arraigned for allegedly having heroin in car with child
RONKONKOMA - A Suffolk County couple is accused of possessing a large quantity of heroin with their baby inside a car.
Police say they pulled over Nicholas Hernandez, 21, of Islip, and Erica Santana on Expressway Drive North in Ronkonkoma Tuesday for numerous traffic violations.
According to police, they found their 5-month-old boy inside, along with 180 packets of heroin.
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The couple pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including criminal possession of a narcotic with the intent to sell and endangering the welfare of a child. Hernandez was held on $152,000 bond. Santana was held on $60,000 bond. She was also charged with criminal impersonation for not correctly identifying herself.
Santana’s family and attorney claim Santana knew nothing about the packets of heroin inside the car.
“She was surprised by the circumstances that occurred, and for that reason we maintain her complete innocence,” said attorney Phillip Russo.
Police say they originally did not release Santana’s name because she's a domestic violence victim. According to police, Hernandez was punching her in the head while she was driving the vehicle. In addition, police say Hernandez violated an order of protection.
The infant was released to family members. Suffolk County Child Protective Services was notified.