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.