Tuesday's arrest of seven people, including three from the Plainview area, has sparked a fierce debate in the community and caught the attention of regional and national media.
Since Patch at 4:55 a.m. on Wednesday, media outlets across Long Island and beyond have reported on the alleged drug deal that went down in a car on Old Country Road and Grohman's Lane in Plainview, in sight of the popular .
Even the staid Wall Street Journal reported on the story, which was picked up through the Associated Press. Newsday and the Long Island Press were among the print news organizations to report on the incident.
The Patch stories have garnered nearly 100 comments from a concerned community and has been widely disseminated through social network sites.
Those arrested were:
- Jonathan Rogge, 24, of 18 Heather Lane, Plainview, charged with a felony count of drug sale.
- Brian Cosenza, 20, of 16 John Drive, Old Bethpage, charged with misdemeanor heroin possession.
- Sean Murphy, 23, of 2 Violet Lane, Plainview, charged with misdemeanor heroin possession.
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Rogge is accused of handing a cigarette box to Cosenza containing several bags of heroin at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in exchange for cash. Narcotics detectives followed Rogge's Jeep to Franklin Square, where another alleged deal took place. Cosenza and another man were arrested in Plainview shortly after the alleged drug deal was committed.
In Franklin Square a half hour later, cops moved in when they saw Rogge make another exchange, police said. Murphy was inside the Jeep where, police say, they found four small bags of heroin. The other vehicle, a Chevy, contained 30 bags of heroin and about $1,000 in cash, police said.
Rogge is facing a serious (Class B) felony count that could indicate significant jail time, if convicted. The others face relatively minor misdemeanor counts of drug possession, which rarely result in extended jail, according to the New York State Penal Code. The suspects were released on appearance tickets and went free.
- In March, the FBI and Nassau Police busted 20 people in what they described as a sweeping heroin drug ring that stretched from Brooklyn to the East End of Long Island. been linked to several overdose deaths in the region. The potent variety in this case, which netted nearly $3 million over a 9-month period and distributed some 20 kilograms of heroin, resulted in numerous overdoses, police said.
- Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice has described the County as suffering from a heroin problem of epidemic proportions. Her staff presents presentations to community groups and schools alerting parents and children to the dangers of the drug.
- Just last month, a national report in Salon indicted that heroin use among young middle-class suburbanites is skyrocketing. The cause appears to be the widespread availability of prescription painkillers, which can lead to heroin use, experts say.
- Nassau County Police keep track of heroin arrests, making hundreds of them each year. According to their statistics, the vast majority of these take place in western South Shore communities such as Rockville Centre and Hempstead. There were more than 50 reported in the first three months of 2011, the most recent information immediately available. (See our map, attached.)