Suffolk County police busted a 24-person heroin ring yesterday that was distributing up to 15,000 bags of heroin on Long Island and New York City streets weekly and that had sold a million bags across the county in the past 16 months.
The heroin that went by street names “Johnson and Johnson,” “Starbucks,” and “Sweet Death” was prepped in a Queens residence before landing in Nassau and Suffolk communities.
Long Island authorities identified Carlos Melendez from the Bronx, Joel Guzman of Queens and Richard Rifino of Bethpage as the ringleaders. Each faces charges of major drug trafficking and 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
The alleged mastermind of the drug ring, Frank Conte of the Bronx, was also charged and is being held on $3 million bail. Conte is currently awaiting trial for his role in the 2007 killing of a Bronx bartender.
Nineteen other suspects, many Suffolk County residents also face conspiracy charges for dealing drugs.