In August 2021, an overdose scourge involving cocaine laced with fentanyl killed six people in the town of Southold and Shelter Island. Four of them happened in one day.

Fatal overdoses, and overdoses in which victims are rescued by first responders, are not uncommon in the North Fork, but Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said at the time that the town hadn’t seen much in just a few days. such a terrible thing.

Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney’s Monday announcement of drug and weapons charges against 21 defendants on 197 counts is certainly a stark reminder of our district — and our nation’s ——everything you face.

The broad indictment includes conspiracy to distribute drugs and firearms and covers more than 60 offenses dating back to December 2021, four months after the local deaths on Southold and Shelter Island.

One of the 21 defendants is charged with selling fentanyl that led to the overdose death of a 25-year-old woman at a Ronkonkoma motel last November. Another defendant released by the prosecutor’s office is Terrence Lee, 33, of Riverhead, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of second-degree conspiracy. Mr. Li was not detained, the news release said.

Families across the North Fork have buried loved ones who died of drug overdoses. Many first responders in the area have spoken of rushing to overdose victims using the nasal spray Narcan, which is now available in many businesses and restaurants, as well as through law enforcement.

In one case a few years ago, first responders were called to the same Cutchogue residence twice in one day to administer Narcan to two residents who had overdosed.

In 2022, there were approximately 350 fentanyl-related deaths in Suffolk County. County health departments do not release town-by-town data. But as Mr. Tierney posted, “There are more young people in Suffolk County than all young people who died during the Vietnam War combined.”

“Fentanyl kills more Americans under 50 than any other cause, including heart disease, cancer, homicide, suicide, guns and accidents,” he said.

Overall, Mr Tierney’s release follows a string of horrors, ranging from drug overdose deaths to gun smuggling. Armed drug gangs in a country rife with guns add another layer of horror to this American story.

The press release described police apprehending one defendant and finding a “loaded AK-47 assault rifle, a loaded Taurus 9mm pistol, a loaded Taurus .38 Special revolver, several High-capacity firearms, associated ammunition, and drug packaging materials.”

Here’s how The Suffolk Times reported on the spate of overdose deaths in August 2021:

“The chief said the horror started seven days ago when a 69-year-old man in Mattituck overdosed and officers gave him Narcan and survived. The chief said, A 27-year-old man from Southold died that night from an overdose, followed by a 28-year-old man from Southold. Of the four deaths on Friday, one was in Greenport Village, one was in East Marion and the third was in Southold. In Southold, the fourth case was on Shelter Island.The second survivor overdosed at the King Kullen car park in Cutchogue and was treated with three doses of Narcan.

“It’s one after another,” Chief said. “These people fly under the radar. Some live with family members who know there is a problem.”

As for the possible source, the chief said it “reached the East End, could be anywhere.”

It’s everywhere.

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