Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini has announced the indictment of an alleged drug dealer on Manslaughter charges for causing two fatal overdoses that occurred on the East End of Long Island in August. The defendant is also indicted for allegedly selling drugs to a third individual who died of a fatal overdose.
Lavain Creighton, 51, of Greenport, is charged with two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony; seven counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; and seven counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony.
“As we’ve said numerous times, we need to hold drug dealers accountable for the death and destruction they are causing, and that is precisely what this indictment does,” District Attorney Sini said. “This defendant was on notice that there was something in the product he was allegedly selling that was not right after receiving a text message from one of his customers indicating that the substance may have been something other than cocaine. He did not warn his customers, nor did he stop selling that product, which is the epitome of recklessness.”
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with Southold Town Police Department, Shelter Island Police Department and Suffolk County Police Department as well as the District Attorney’s Office’s East End Drug Task Force (“EEDTF”) and Heroin Task Force (“HTF”), conducted an investigation into four fatal overdoses that occurred on or about Aug. 13. The investigation revealed evidence that Creighton had allegedly sold the lethal drugs that caused two of the fatal overdoses and had sold drugs to a third individual who died of a fatal overdose.
The investigation also included an analysis of surveillance video at Creighton’s residence and cell phone analyses, which revealed that Creighton had allegedly sold narcotics to the three decedents on Aug. 12. At approximately 9:26 p.m., Creighton received a text message from a decedent with the initials S.A. stating: “yo, I think . that stuff is cut with something weird. Having trouble keeping my eyes from movin around, giving me the spins. Just wanted to warn you.” At approximately 9:27 p.m., Creighton responded “ok.” Creighton allegedly sold the narcotics to a victim with the initials M.L. between approximately 9:25 p.m. and 9:26 p.m., and sold to a victim with the initials S.B. at approximately 9:31 p.m.
S.A., M.L. and S.B. all died of overdoses on Aug. 13. Toxicology reports for the decedents revealed the presence of cocaine and fluorofentanyl, a fentanyl analog.
“This is why we need a death by dealer statute,” District Attorney Sini said. “We are being innovative in how we investigate and charge these cases – our Office is a leader in the state on both of those fronts – but we shouldn’t have to rely on additional evidence like that text message to hold a drug dealer accountable for killing someone. We need a statute that says if you sell drugs and you kill someone, you are held liable for that death.”
There are three additional fatal and several non-fatal overdoses that occurred on the East End in August 2021 that are still actively under investigation.
During the investigation, law enforcement agents from the EEDTF also 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.
Pursuant to the investigation, Creighton was arrested on Aug. 18.
Creighton was arraigned on the indictment in front of Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice John Collins today and bail was set at $500,000 cash, $5 million bond, or $5 million partially-secured bond. He is being represented by Lane Bubka and is due back in court on Oct. 15.
If convicted of Manslaughter, Creighton faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison on each count. Creighton faces a maximum sentence of up to nine years in prison on each of the other offenses if convicted.
The investigation also revealed evidence that Justin Smith, 46, of Smithtown, was an alleged supplier of narcotics to Creighton. Smith was indicted on charges of 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 was arraigned on the indictment yesterday in front of Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei and bail was set at $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond, or $50,000 partially-secured bond. He is being represented by Anthony Scheller and is due back in court on Sept. 13.
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.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.