Montauk Drug Dealer Gets Three to Nine Years

Antonio Ramirez-Gonzalez was sentenced to three to nine years in state prison on a charge of conspiracy in the first degree. T.E. McMorrow/Pool Photo

A man whom prosecutors had referred to as the “gatekeeper of the ill-gotten proceeds of the largest narcotics distribution ring in and around Montauk” was sentenced to three to nine years in prison Wednesday.

Antonio Ramirez-Gonzalez, a 30-year-old from Puerto Rico, was busted along with 17 others in August. Police found $30,000 in cash bundled in different denominations and clearly marked, as well as narcotics, during a search warrant in his room at Zorba's Inn on West Lake Drive in Montauk.  

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the first degree, a B felony, on Feb. 6. Before State Justice Timothy Mazzei handed down the prison sentence, he asked Mr. Ramirez-Gonzalez, who was wearing a green prison uniform, if he had anything to say. He responded with a simple no. 

Known as Tete, he has been held on bail since his arrest. 

Mr. Ramirez-Gonzalez's attorney, Walter Zornes of Hampton Bays, said his client has a substance-abuse problem and is eligible for New York State's Shock Incarceration Program, which is offered at certain prisons. It is a boot camp, military-style discipline with very structured days, including drills and work. "In New York State, the program is designed to provide a total learning environment that fosters involvement, self- direction, and individual responsibility," according to information online. 

"He does need help," Mr. Zornes told the judge.

Gilberto Quintana-Crespo, "a key member" of the narcotics distribution ring who had a role in securing postal packages containing the drugs, was also sentenced Wednesday to one year in the Suffolk County jail. He had pleaded guilty to a lesser felony, fourth-degree conspiracy, on Feb. 6. He had been facing as much as eight and a third to 25 years.

The judge also asked Mr. Quinta-Crespo, a 32-year-old known as Jimmy, if he had anything to say before sentencing. "That I regret it," he said though an interpreter.

The cases against Geraldo Vargas-Munoz, 37, who had been seen as the kingpin in the operation, and Elvin Silva-Ruiz, who allegedly had sold half an ounce of cocaine to an undercover officer and arranged for the shipment of cocaine and oxycodone, are still pending. Both men remain in custody. 

Mr. Silva-Ruiz's case was on Justice Mazzei's docket on Wednesday, as well, but was adjourned until April 16. While court officers said he had been taken from the jail to the courthouse, his attorney, Chris Brocato, said he was not supposed to be transported then because he gets dialysis on Wednesdays. In fact, when the prosecutor and the defense attorney were deciding on his next court appearance, they made sure it did not conflict with his dialysis schedule. 

In August, his attorney said the 40-year-old, known as Pito, was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia and was on dialysis.

Mr. Vargas-Munoz, known as Chelo, who allegedly sold drugs and also supplied others with narcotics to sell, pleaded not guilty in addition to felony charges in a 33-count indictment, including operating as a major trafficker and conspiracy in the second degree. He faces 25 years in prison. His next court date is April 18.

Several others charged as part of the conspiracy or with drug possession have already pleaded guilty, as previously reported.

Gilberto Quintana-Crespo will serve one year in Suffolk County jail. T.E. McMorrow/Pool Photo