Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini was joined by members of the District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force (“EEDTF”) and Heroin Task Force (“HTF”), the Suffolk County Police Department, the Southold Town Police Department, the Shelter Island Police Department, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and other officials to announce the arrest of two alleged drug dealers in connection with multiple fatal overdoses that occurred on the East End of Long Island last week.
“This is a major threat to public health and public safety,” District Attorney Sini said. “We want to get the message out that if you have any drugs – particularly powdery substances, whether you think it is heroin, cocaine or fentanyl – get rid of it. Especially if you bought narcotics on the East End in the last several weeks, the chances that you bought lethal product is extremely high. I cannot emphasize this enough. We are asking the public: If you bought drugs from either of these individuals, please call 631-852-NARC, which is an anonymous tip line. This will help us recover lethal drugs from our community, and protect further people. It can also assist us in our investigation as we look to bring additional charges against these defendants and potentially bring upgraded homicide charges.”
“We continue to investigate the numerous overdoses – both fatal and non-fatal – that have occurred on the East End over the past few weeks,” District Attorney Sini said. “Our message is clear: If you are selling drugs in Suffolk County and you kill someone, we will hold you accountable for the death and destruction you have caused.”
Lavain Creighton, 51, of Greenport, is charged with six counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, including the alleged sale of narcotics that caused two fatal overdoses.
Justin Smith, 46, of Smithtown, is charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a class A misdemeanor; and two counts of Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor. Smith is also charged with five counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, and other lesser offenses in connection with a separate investigation.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with Southold Town Police Department, Shelter Island Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, EEDTF and HTF, conducted an investigation into four fatal overdoses that occurred on or about Aug. 13, 2021, and determined that Creighton had allegedly sold the lethal drugs in connection with two of the fatal overdoses. There are several additional fatal and non-fatal overdoses that occurred on the East End that are still actively under investigation.
During the investigation, law enforcement agents from the EEDTF conducted undercover narcotics purchases from Creighton. Packaging found at one of the overdose victim’s residences was consistent with packaging of the narcotics purchased by law enforcement.
Further evidence revealed that Smith was an alleged supplier for Creighton. The investigation into Smith’s role in the alleged sale of the lethal cocaine is ongoing.
Pursuant to the investigation, Creighton and Smith were arrested on Aug. 18.
Creighton was arraigned on the charges in Southold Town Justice Court and was remanded without bail. He is being represented by Lane Bubka and is due back in court on Aug. 24. Smith was arraigned on the charges in Suffolk County District Court and bail was set at $200,000 cash, $500,000 bond, or $2.5 million partially-secured bond. He is being represented by Anthony Scheller and is due back in court on Aug. 23. If convicted, Creighton faces a maximum sentence of up to nine years in prison on each count. If convicted, Smith faces up to life in prison due to his status as a discretionary persistent felony offender under New York State law.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Dana Gremaux, Lauren Michalski and Saam Jalayer, of the Narcotics Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Jacob Kubetz, of the Special Narcotics Bureau. They are being supervised by Bureau Chief Kate Wagner, of the Special Narcotics Bureau.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force includes law enforcement officers and detectives from the New York State Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Department of Probation, East Hampton Town Police Department, Riverhead Town Police Department, Southampton Town Police Department, and Southampton Village Police Department. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Heroin Task Force comprises law enforcement officers from the District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department and Northport Police Department.
“The sale of dangerous narcotics perpetuates a cycle of substance abuse which poses a significant threat to the safety and quality of life within our communities, and it will not be tolerated,” said New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “I commend our members and our law enforcement partners for the hard work that led to these arrests.”
“It was critical that these drug dealers be taken down as rapidly as possible, as they were essentially selling poison,” Acting Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said. “I would like to thank the District Attorney and his staff for orchestrating the very rapid response to these events. Through our Real-Time Crime Center, we are able to work on investigations like this utilizing intelligence from across New York State. This should send a clear message to anyone selling drugs in Suffolk County that law enforcement has never worked more collaboratively; we are 100% on the same page and working together on these investigations.”
“Sadly, I have met with many people who lost loved ones to drug overdoses,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon Jr. “In partnership with local, state and federal agencies, we will continue attacking this epidemic on all fronts to hold accountable those who push this deadly poison into our communities.”
“The Shelter Island Police Department in cooperation with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Southold Town Police Department have charged Lavain Creighton with the Class B Felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd - Narcotic Drug,” said Shelter Island Town Police Chief James Read. “This charge is the result and in direct connection to the investigation of the fatal overdose of S.B. that occurred on August 13, 2021.”
“We again would like to thank our partners in this investigation including Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini and his staff, the Suffolk County Police Department and Shelter Island Town PD,” Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said. “It is through the hard work of this group, coordinated by our detective division, that we were able to expedite this investigation and make two arrests in an effort to make sure these narcotics are not sold again in Suffolk County with such drastic results. We stand behind the proposed “Death by Dealer” legislation introduced earlier by our elected officials from Suffolk County – anyone who deals narcotics should be held accountable for its deadly impact on our communities.”
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.