One of the six men indicted on August 20 as part of the alleged Montauk drug distribution ring arrests made earlier this month is facing 20 felony charges, including one of operating as a major drug trafficker, with a personal profit of $75,000 or more.
Geraldo Jose Vargas-Munoz, who was working in the kitchen of Swallow East as a dishwasher for nominal pay, is facing possible life in prison if convicted of even one of the most serious charges, which are classified as A felonies. Those charges include three counts of selling a half-ounce or more of cocaine in one sale, along with an even more serious charge of selling two ounces or more of cocaine, apparently all to undercover agents, along with a charge of criminal possession of eight ounces or more of cocaine, and the charge of directing a major drug ring. Besides those six charges, there are 14 more felony charges hanging over his head.
District Attorney Tim Sini said in a press conference August 16 that many of the sales the group made were out of the back doors of the various Montauk restaurants where they worked. According to the District Attorney, they all were working for low wages as a front for their criminal activity. Israel Padilla-Rojas, who, according to police, was in possession of a small amount of narcotics at one of five locations police raided that morning, told the court during his arraignment that he works as a dishwasher at the Gig Shack. He said that he works 80 hours a week, and makes $600.
Five other indictments were handed down by the grand jury, according to court records. William Crespo-Duran is facing one A felony, possession of four ounces or more of cocaine, along with two other felonies, conspiracy to sell drugs and possession. Elvin Silva-Ruiz has also been charged with an A felony, for allegedly selling a half ounce or more to an undercover agent. He is facing five additional drug related felony charges, as well.
Silva-Ruiz was arrested August 14 at JFK Airport, where he was attempting to board a plane. After his arrest, he was taken to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital for an undisclosed medical condition. Southampton Justice Barbara Wilson performed his initial bedside arraignment under the watchful eye of a Suffolk County deputy sheriff. Silva-Ruiz has since been released from the hospital, and is in county jail in Riverside.
Gilberto Quintana-Crespo, Eric Mendez, and Antonio Ramirez-Gonzalez were all charged by the grand jury with one felony count each of conspiring to distribute cocaine. Except for Mendez, who posted $10,000 bail before the indictment was handed down, the group is being held without bail. The men were arrested as part of an operation that combined the forces of the East Hampton Town police, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Postal Inspectors, and the District Attorney’s East End Drug Task Force. They are all scheduled to be arraigned by New York State Justice Timothy Mazzei tomorrow.
All are natives of Puerto Rico who have been coming to Montauk for the summer season for several years.