RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A rash of overdoses on Long Island led to a series of arrests Thursday.
Two alleged drug dealers have been arrested in connection with the rash of fatal overdoses on the East End, from Southold to Shelter Island, caused by a bad batch of cocaine laced with fentanyl.
They have been identified as 51-year-old Lavain Creighton, of Greenport, and 46-year-old Justin Smith, of Smithtown.
"These cases, again, are still under investigation and additional charges may be brought, including homicide-related charges such as manslaughter in the second degree," Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said.
The suspects, both from Suffolk County, each have a history of drug dealing but are denying supplying the cocaine that killed any of the six men and women between the ages of 25-40.
"This year potentially will be the worst year in history in terms of fatal overdoses in this region," said Dr. Jeff Reynolds, with the Family & Children's Association.
Strides that were made pre-pandemic have been lost. It's been a harrowing past two weeks for villagers in Greenport, where many of the victims lived and worked.
"There was a nonprofit that was handing out Narcan in the park yesterday, and I got some for the restaurant to have on hand," said Jason Novetti, manager of the restaurant Green Hill.
Novetti lost friends.
The community is holding vigils.
"A dark place of loneliness and despair," Ryan Kiser told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan. "I am fortunate to be sitting in front of you right now."
Kiser, a peer counselor, has five years of sustained recovery and knows the anguish.
"There is hope. There is hope, as painful as it is," he said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer secured $1.5 million in federal funding for recovery centers, training, outreach and hospitalizations here.
"Number one, we are getting some real money here and that is some good news amidst this scourge. But two, we have a very good chance to increase that amount rather dramatically," he said.
Now pending in Albany is death-by-dealer bipartisan legislation that increases penalties for those who deal drugs that kill people -- a maximum 25 years to life.
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