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8 people accused of participating in a cocaine distribution ring on Long Island

Narcotics officers in New York seized 3,586 pounds of cocaine and $1.3 million seized in 1997. Cocaine use in the U.S. has dropped by almost half since 2006.
Gino Dominico
Narcotics officers in New York seized 3,586 pounds of cocaine.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney today announced the indictment of eight individuals for their role in an alleged cocaine distribution ring in which packages containing kilograms of the alkaloid were shipped from Puerto Rico to Long Island via the United States Postal Service and then sold on the streets of Suffolk County. 

The defendants are Eleomar Perez Serrano and his accomplices, María Ines Nievez, Carlos Vásquez, Brian Ruiz Chaparro, Linda Wahlen, Lynn Chodkowski, Samuel Rodríguez and Omar Lopez Pérez.

“These defendants allegedly used the United States Postal Service to send numerous packages containing cocaine from Puerto Rico to locations in both Suffolk County and Nassau County,” Tierney said. “While these alleged dangerous and illegal drug peddlers were creative in their attempts to break the law, thanks to our partnerships with law enforcement, we cracked the scheme. Drug dealers must be informed, we will find them and bring them to justice."

According to the investigation, between March 2022 and June 2023, Eleomar Pérez Serrano would have received numerous packages every few weeks that were believed to contain cocaine. The prosecutor said that in March of 2023, when his predecessor was killed in Puerto Rico, Pérez Serrano would have led the local operation and would have been in charge of coordinating the shipments of cocaine packages to Suffolk County and his apartment building in Nassau County, where he lived with María Nieves. After taking possession of the narcotic, the co-conspirators worked together to distribute cocaine in Suffolk County.

On June 6, police executed several search warrants that resulted in the following:

  • At the Westbury apartment of defendants Pérez Serrano and Nieves, police officers allegedly recovered two-kilogram blocks of cocaine, one of which was found unsecured under a sink and the other in a box under a child's crib. Law enforcement also allegedly recovered numerous bags containing cocaine and crack that were packaged for sale, eight cell phones, including those used to acquire and distribute cocaine, three digital drug scales, a money counter, materials used to package drugs for sale and approximately $25,000 in cash.
  • At the Huntington Station residence of defendant Brian Ruiz Chaparro, police allegedly recovered four ounces of cocaine, two cell phones, a digital scale and materials used to package drugs for sale. It is also alleged that Ruiz Chaparro received a package believed to contain cocaine to promote the company, and allegedly participated in the distribution of narcotics along with Pérez Serrano, also allowing the latter to use his vehicle to promote the distribution of cocaine in Suffolk County.
  • At the Bay Shore residence of defendant Samuel Rodríguez, police reportedly recovered a cell phone that he used to obtain cocaine, more than $9,000 in cash, and a digital scale. It is also alleged that Rodríguez purchased large quantities of cocaine to resell to Pérez Serrano.

“As alleged, the defendants used the mail system of the United States Postal Service to operate a multi-million dollar drug business on Long Island,” said special agent in charge of the Department of Homeland Security Investigations in New York, Ivan J. Arvelo. “We are proud of our association with the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The prosecutor's account indicates that during the investigation it was established that Pérez Serrano and Carlos Vásquez allegedly discussed making a daily profit of at least $2,000 from street cocaine sales in Suffolk County, which would amount to almost a quarter of a million dollars in profits during the time of the conspiracy.

In addition to street-level deals, Pérez Serrano also allegedly sold cocaine to resellers, making an even bigger profit, the prosecutor's statement said.

After the search warrants were executed on June 6, the Postal Service's inspector general's office became aware that two additional packages were in transit from Puerto Rico and were going to locations allegedly previously used by defendant Perez Serrano to receive packages containing cocaine. One of the packages was allegedly addressed to the residence of defendant Linda Wahlen and the other was allegedly destined for the apartment building where defendants Perez Serrano and Nieves resided.

The two packages were seized and searched pursuant to federal search warrants, and each package was found to contain approximately 35 ounces of cocaine, two kilograms in total, which were concealed inside floating pool crates.

PEREZ SERRANO, a 33-year-old Westbury resident, is charged with acting as a principal trafficker and multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

  • VAZQUEZ, 52, of Huntington, is charged with conspiracy and possession of controlled substances.
  • RUIZ-CHAPARRO, 34, a Huntington Station resident, is charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of controlled substances and conspiracy.
  • WAHLEN, 57, of Huntington Station, is charged with Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and conspiracy.
  • CHODKOWSKI, 61, of Huntington, is charged with one count of Conspiracy in the Second Degree.
  • LOPEZ-PEREZ, 38, of Huntington Station, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree.
  • RODRIGUEZ, 54, of Bay Shore, is charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree and Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree

“The Postal Inspection Service continues to dismantle drug organizations and prevent them from using the Postal Service to distribute illicit drugs and endanger the safety of our communities,” said USPIS New York Division Inspector in Charge Daniel Brubaker. "Postal inspectors will stop at nothing until all targets are brought to justice."

Perez Serrano was arraigned for the indictment before County Court Judge Anthony S. Senft, Jr., the other defendants will be arraigned in the coming days.

A Spanish language media outlet serving Suffolk County, New York.