By Andrew Wroblewski
Suffolk County police arrested eight people and seized drugs and weapons from a Greenlawn residence early Thursday morning.
Some of those arrested are gang members, police said.
In addition to heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana estimated to be worth $15,000 in street value, two loaded handguns, an electronic stun gun, cash, digital scales and a variety of drug packaging equipment were also seized after a search warrant was executed at approximately 6 a.m.
Alex Otero, 25, a resident of the 72 Rutgers Lane home; Melissa Saldarriaga, 19, a resident of the home; Brian Ochsenreiter, 23, a resident of the home; Bruce Giles, 26, of Huntington Station; Joshua Crowell, 20, of Dix Hills; Karl Latortue, 32, of Dix Hills; Christine Gatling, 22, of Brooklyn; and Nadine Parker, 26, of Brooklyn were those arrested in the raid, which was conducted by detectives from the Suffolk County Narcotics Section.
Otero, Ochsenreiter, Giles and Crowell are members of the Southside Platoon street gang, police said.
“We’ve had some issues in terms of complaints with this house… over the years,” Town Spokesman A.J. Carter said.
Since 2008, Carter said, neighbors’ complaints have included drug dealing, loud music and partying. The home is owned by Catco Associates, L.P., according to town records. Catco’s registered address is that of Pius Realty Ltd, in Northport, according to the NYS Department of State’s Division of Corporations. Owner Donald Pius did not immediately return calls on Friday.
“What was interesting after the search warrant was executed was that a lot of the neighbors were outside clapping and raising their thumbs in approval,” Det. Lt. Timothy Dillon, of the Suffolk Narcotics Section, said.
Tipped off by the complaints about a month ago – which centered on Otero, Dillon said – police were able to obtain a search warrant and seize what he said was “an above average amount of drugs for a residential home.” Dillon added that the drugs were being sold mostly in the local, general area with buyers visiting to pick up.
Following the raid, police were later summoned to the house by a 911 call detailing a break-in. Antonio Springfield, 29, of Brentwood, and Quavone Peterman, 18, of Huntington Station – both Crip members, Dillon said – were arrested and are being charged with second-degree burglary for allegedly attempting to steal a flat-screen television.
Dillon also confirmed that three pit bull puppies were seized during the raid and left in the care of the Town of Huntington Animal Shelter.
Last summer, Otero and Saldarriaga were arrested in connection to the theft of a pit bull stolen from the Huntington Animal Shelter in East Northport on Aug. 26. That dog was later recovered as a stray, but soon euthanized due to apparent dog-fighting injuries, Carter said.
The suspects were arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Friday.
“This operation was based out of that house, but there was someone supplying it so the investigation is always ongoing,” Dillon said.
• Otero was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, six counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree and unlawful possession of marijuana.
• Saldarriaga was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree and unlawful possession of marijuana.
• Ochsenreiter was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was also charged with petit larceny for an unrelated incident.
• Giles was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and a bench warrant for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
• Crowell, Latortue, Gatling and Parker were each charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.