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Police: Manager of La Perla Restaurant in Riverhead arrested following drug bust

Two other men were arrested in February for allegedly selling cocaine out of the East Main Street business.

News 12 Staff

Apr 11, 2024, 8:38 PM

Updated 40 days ago


An East End drug task force made multiple arrests in downtown Riverhead for the second time in five months.
News 12 is told the arrests are part of a six-month investigation into La Perla restaurant, sparked by tips from neighbors.
The manager of La Perla Restaurant was arrested following a drug bust at the Riverhead business, police say.
Eliseo Quintanilla, 43, of Manorville, was arrested on April 4 and charged with maintaining a premises where persons gather to engage in unlawful conduct.
Two other men, Christopher Contreras and James Wicks, were arrested in February for allegedly selling cocaine out of the East Main Street business.
Businesses up and down Main Street are shocked to learn about what happened. Kristen Hanyo, from the Privet Consignment Warehouse, says the focus should be on the growth going on downtown.
"That’s not what Riverhead is about,” she said. "I don't want that for businesses around here. There's a lot of people working hard, small business owners who don't want that type of activity in this area. It's not welcomed at all."
Jerry Dicecco is the owner of Jerry and the Mermaid. He says this shouldn’t define Riverhead.
"I don't think that should reflect on our community,” he said. “It has nothing to do with our restaurant, our downtown."
Gabriela Montoya is the owner fo La Perla Restaurant. She said she had no idea what was going on and that the manager was a friend who’s now been fired.
"All of this is a surprise for me. I didn't know anything,” she said. "He's a family friend for years and I trust him, but, you know, all of these things really like got me scared."
In November, police announced that they made five drug-related arrests just down the street at Peconic Crossing apartments. That investigation also was the result of complaints from the community.
Still, some in the community say the drug busts are a fluke and not a common occurrence.
"Everywhere you go you're going to see a little something, but who's going to address it,” said Mark McLaughlin, of Riverhead. “You have those who do and those who don't. Here in Riverhead, we address it."

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