Cops & Crime

East End Drug Task Force Busts Three in Riverhead

In response to numerous complaints about drug activity at a Merritts Pond Road residence, the East End Drug Task Force, the Suffolk County Police Department Emergency Services Unit and the Riverhead Police Department executed a search warrant Tuesday that led to three arrests, according to Riverhead police.

The operation began at 5:16 p.m. Tuesday at 137 Merritts Pond Road. According to authorities, as police officers approached the residence, Justin C. Benkov, who was in a vehicle parked in the driveway, tried to back up his vehicle in the direction of the officers in an attempt to escape. The passengers, Michael T. Barry and Bryant B. Smith, fled from the vehicle but were apprehended.

Police said drugs were found in the house and in the vehicle. The men were arrested then processed at Riverhead police headquarters. They were held overnight for arraignment at Riverhead Justice Court.

Benkov, 29, of Riverhead, was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia, and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Barry, 28, of Riverhead, and Smith, 36, of Rocky Point, were both charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

The East End Drug Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement unit funded by the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.

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