Authorities: 17 indicted in multistate drug ring

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

Authorities say 17 people were indicted Tuesday in connection with a massive, multistate drug ring.

Kevin Larking, of the Drug Enforcement Administration, says drug couriers routinely took commercial flights more than 2,000 miles, from an airport in Phoenix to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens.

"Two to three times per month, they traveled via commercial air, with cocaine smuggled inside suitcases, and returned to Arizona with narcotic proceeds," Larking says.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas says the traffickers made between $50,000 and $75,000 a week. As for how the couriers made it through airport security with stowed-away drugs for over a year, Singas says that's being investigated along with a review of policies and procedures.

The alleged ringleaders have been identified as cousins Lyonel Beaubrun, of Queens, and Kervin Etienne, who was living on Kent Street in West Hempstead. Prosecutors say the two were caught driving high-end vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW. Despite the vehicles, neighbors say they didn’t stick out and seemed quiet.

Investigators say that once the cocaine and heroin arrived in Nassau, it was distributed as far north as Syracuse, New York, and as far south as Baltimore.

If convicted, the alleged ringleaders and others face 25 years to life in prison.

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