Police: 4 LI men nabbed in connection with cocaine ring

HAUPPAUGE - Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced this afternoon that four men were arrested for their alleged roles in running a California-to-Long Island cocaine-smuggling operation worth millions of dollars.

Officials say they seized 32 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $3 million, along with approximately $900,000 in cash, as well as guns, steroids and eight luxury cars. Cops say some of the automobiles had secret compartments used to hide cocaine and cash during shipments to and from California and Suffolk County.

Spota says an eight-month investigation revealed that the suspects in the case distributed hundreds of kilos of cocaine over the past five years, earning millions in profits.

Spota say the drugs were smuggled by Mexican cartels into Los Angeles, where a man by the name of William Wright would broker the cross-country shipment to Long Island. The cocaine would then be transported to the Deer Park home of accused ringleader Robert Perticone and his right-hand man, Richard Occhino.

Prosecutors say the bust took place two weeks ago when they saw the suspects drive two vehicles out of the rear of Occhino's motorcycle shop in Deer Park. They say they knew from wiretaps that these two cars were likely carrying cocaine.

In addition to Perticone and Occhino, police also arrested Theodore Katsanos, of Bay Shore, and Jose Tejada, of West Babylon. Investigators say they expect to make more arrests in the case.

Authorities say all four defendants have been arraigned, and an arrest warrant has been issued for Wright, of West Hollywood, Calif.

Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

Suffolk Police say a Wantagh man inappropriately touched 1 Police: Camp counselor arrested for sexually abusing minors
Officials say retired Lt. Paul Dean, of Wantagh, 2 2 retired NYPD officers from LI arrested in gun permit scheme
The incident took place on Sunday morning in 3 Mattituck woman recounts death of dog attacked by neighbor's pit bulls
Police responded to a robbery at the 7-Eleven 4 Police: Shirley knifepoint robbery not linked to pattern
The part-time Amagansett resident just announced his 'One 5 Paul McCartney announces tour stop at new Coliseum

advertisement | advertise on News 12


Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.