Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini announced the arrest Wednesday of two alleged drug dealers, a couple living in Lake Grove who police say are responsible for the overdose death of a man in Riverhead in late April.
Riverhead police, working in conjunction with Sini’s office, the New York State Police, Suffolk County police and its county narcotics squad, as well as the D.A.’s East End Drug Task Force, arrested Edward Primavera, 30, and Brooke Edwards, 35, this week. The arrest came after a three-week investigation.
Police executed a search warrant of the couple’s home and reported finding crack cocaine, fentanyl, and scales and packaging materials, along with over $1500 in cash.
Primavera is charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a B felony; Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a C felony; and two misdemeanor counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Edwards is facing two felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one of which is a possession with intent to sell charge. She is also charged with two misdemeanor narcotics possession counts, as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
If convicted of the top count, they each face a maximum sentence of eighth and one third to 25 years in prison.
The couple were arraigned on the charges Tuesday and released, under the supervision of the probation department. Their next court date is scheduled, at least for now, in Riverhead Town Justice Court on July 22, but the case will be moved if a grand jury indicts them before then.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there currently are no grand juries seated in Suffolk County.
“Preliminary data has indicated that Suffolk County is experiencing an uptick in overdoses during the pandemic, which is obviously very concerning,” Sini said in a press release. “Whenever there is a fatal overdose, we treat that investigation similarly to a homicide; we take immediate steps to try to determine who sold the drugs to that victim.”
Sini’s spokeswoman, Sheila Kelly, was asked Monday, if, in fact, the DA believes there is a direct link between the couple’s alleged sale of the fentanyl involved in the overdose, why they were not charged with manslaughter.
The investigators’ approach right now, she said, is simple: “We are going to go wherever the evidence takes us.” Additional charges could be brought, Kelly said, during the grand jury process.
Sini’s office previously charged manslaughter in connection with another Riverhead overdose, this one dating back to 2018. One of the two men accused, John Brophy of Greenport, pleaded guilty last year to the manslaughter charge.
The second man, however, went to trial. LaShawn Lawrence, also of Greenport, was found not guilty following a seven-day bench trial in front of New York State Supreme Court Justice Anthony Senft, though Lawrence was found guilty of a lesser charge. Lawrence’s attorney, Carl Irace, was able to raise a reasonable doubt argument about the direct linkage of the sale of the fentanyl to the overdose death of Lawrence Yaccarino, who had injected heroin laced with fentanyl into his system.
Primavera has at least one arrest in his past. On Christmas Eve 2011, he was arrested in Nesconset after a car accident, charged with three misdemeanors, two alleging that he was in possession of illegal drugs, and the third, a weapons possession charge as he allegedly had a pair of brass knuckles.