McLaughlin’s son in Astoria drug bust: DA

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Former state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin’s son was arrested last week along with 36 others from all corners of the borough for allegedly selling addictive drugs, such as Vicodin, Ecstasy and Oxycodone, the Queens district attorney said.

Robert McLaughlin, 26, of 51-01 39th Ave. in Astoria, was charged late last week in Queens Supreme Court with the criminal sale of a controlled substance, DA Richard Brown said.´╗┐

The defendant is the son of former Assemblyman and labor leader Brian McLaughlin, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in May 2009 after being convicted of stealing more than $2 million from labor unions, a Little League in Flushing and the state, a spokeswoman for the DA said.

If convicted, the defendant could face up to nine years in prison, the DA said.

The drug bust, carried out by the city Police Department’s Queens Narcotics Squad and its Organized Crime Unit, netted residents from across the borough, including Astoria, Bayside, Sunnyside, Forest Hills, Howard Beach, Corona, Flushing and Jackson Heights.

Police executed eight search warrants last week, during which they recovered three loaded handguns, approximately $20,000 in cash and large quantities of Ecstasy, Vicodin, Suboxone, Oxycodone, Ketamine, Xanax, Aderall, marijuana and other highly addictive pharmaceuticals, the DA said.

“We have seen a huge rise in the use and abuse of prescription painkillers,” Brown said last week´╗┐. “Drugs such as Vicodin and Oxycodone are extremely potent and have a high potential for abuse and death. Today’s arrests not only cut off the suppliers for these drugs but the distributors as well.”

Two loosely knit groups comprised of 37 individuals were taken down in the bust. They each face between 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Each of the defendants was charged with numerous counts of criminal possession or sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy and criminal facilitation, Brown said.

“The combination of drugs and guns is a clear prescription for violence,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The commissioner said the bust unmasked a “prolific network of drug dealers.”

The operation began in June 2008 when an undercover detective learned that illegal drugs were allegedly available at a bar known as Mix Cafe & Lounge, at 40-17 30th Ave. in Astoria, the DA said. One of the club’s owners, Javier Leon, 42, of 43-08 30th Ave. in Astoria, as well as its bartender, Stefan Sweeting, 27, of 102-09 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills, were arrested in the bust.

Leon is accused of selling 80 Vicodin pills for $500 and $1,400 worth of cocaine to the undercover officer, Brown said.

He is also alleged to have introduced undercover officers to Hi Kim, 27, of 19-39 77th St. in Sunnyside, who is reputed to be a main distributor for one of the two groups and accused of selling thousands of Ecstasy pills to officers.

Two of Kim’s roommates, Matheus Ottoni, 24, and Rafael Ottoni, 28, have also been charged in the indictment. John Congemi, 24, of 89-03 69th Ave. in Forest Hills, was accused of being the link between Kim’s group and an alleged retail pharmaceutical drug distribution family, the DA said. That second group includes Kathleen Olsen, 56, of 22-34 Parsons Blvd. in Whitestone, as well as her children Christopher Olsen, 26, Elizabeth Olsen, 16, and Sean Olsen, 23, according to the district attorney’s office.

According to the indictment, defendants in the bust are Astoria’s Leonard Costa, Alexander Eksarkos, Bill Schinakis and Evaggelos Tsiboukas. Forest Hills suspects include Alexander Castro and John Congemi, while Whitestone’s Carmelo Caminiti, William Grimando and Donato Pinto were arrested.

Flushing residents Christina Bova and Pedro Naveda were indicted as well as Bayside’s John Papas, court papers showed. Several other defendants were also from Queens, such as Felix Luna (Corona), Richard Molina (Howard Beach) and Vincent Susca (Jackson Heights).

Three other defendants with unavailable addresses, a Brooklyn man and another from New Jersey were also arrested, while seven others are being sought by police, the DA said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 12:26 pm, August 5, 2015
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