Heroin ring bust results in 9 arrests

Kristin Thorne reports from Riverhead.
February 19, 2014 4:03:56 PM PST
Nine people have been arrested so far and thousands of packets of heroin have been confiscated.

Prosecutors say the drugs were transported from Harlem to Riverhead in Suffolk County.

Because of the high quality, the heroin was sold for as much as twice the normal street price.

"Every single one of them knows nothing but selling drugs," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Specifically what's called Hollywood heroin; it's the strongest, purest, most expensive type of heroin out there.

Investigators say the ring was based out of East Harlem with three suspects considered the suppliers.

They would allegedly distribute to a six man crew based on the east end of Long Island.

They in turn, according to investigators, would sell to affluent buyers from the Hamptons and the North Fork.

"They peddled their poison all along the Route 58 corridor in the parking lots of Tanger, Walmart, gas stations," Spota said.

It's just the latest in what some call a heroin epidemic on Long Island.

The crackdown on prescription painkillers has led many young people to the heroin habit.

Linda Ventura recently lost her 21-year-old son Thomas to a heroin overdose.

She says if parents sense their child is using heroin, they have to act upon it right away.

"Don't be afraid to drug test them, I can't believe, they're going to give you every excuse in the book, you have to be a parent then and you have to do tough love," said Linda Ventura, of "Thomas' Hope".

Then there's Anthony Rizzuto who has created an outreach group for families trying to get the most thorough treatment for their loved ones.

"Most treatment is about six months to a year, that's really not sufficient," said Anthony Rizzuto, of Families in Support of Treatment.

Both Rizzuto and Ventura say they're happy knowing all this is now off the streets.

Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota says this is just the beginning.

"This is going to be a full court press for heroin epidemic and that will become more apparent in the near future," Spota said.

Linda Ventura, the Executive Director of "Thomas' Hope" is willing to answer parents' questions. You can contact through her the Thomas' Hope Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thomas-Hope-A-Center-for-Drug-Rehabilitation-Family-Counseling/338243029626921?ref=stream