MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island couple was arrested earlier this week, accused of running a drug operation right across the street from a school.
The husband and wife, who live in a quiet North Merrick neighborhood, were hit with multiple drug charges. As CBS2’s Tara Jakeway reported, the husband is a former New York City police officer.
Kenneth Riggio, 59, served in the NYPD for four years before leaving back in 1985. He was arraigned Thursday along with his 53-year-old wife, Faith Riggio. The couple was on probation for numerous past offenses.
On Tuesday at around 6 p.m., a team of Nassau County authorities doing a night probation watch converged on their home on Meadowbrook Road, authorities said. That’s where they found a litany of narcotics. CBS2’s Jakeway saw them spread out at Nassau County Police Headquarters on Thursday. There was oxycodone, fentanyl, a substance believed to be heroin, and Xanax, plus scales, hundreds of glassine envelopes and a lot of cash.
“We went through the house recovering, as you just heard, $146,000 in cash that was lined up and in certain packages, obviously money that was received from the sale of narcotics,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“It’s shocking. We walk past that house twice a day to go to school with my little kids,” said North Merrick resident Dana Staples.
She just moved into her home six months ago, and it back up to the Riggio’s yard.
“There’s a bunch of cars parked in the yard and I had wondered what that was about because it was kind of strange to see all the cars,” Staples said.
She wasn’t the only neighbor to find the traffic around the Riggios house odd.
“In fact, we got a lot of community complaints about this particular residence, which helped to build the case,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “We need everyone in our communities to step forward and help us get rid of these drug dealers.”
Drew Dreisen visits his grandchildren around the corner from the Riggios. He’s not surprised neighbors tipped off police.
“It’s a very strong community. People look out for each other, and if you see something, say something. That’s always been the motto,” Dreisen said. “I hope they lock them up and throw away the key. I mean, seriously.”
Outside the Riggio home, school buses pass by frequently. Down the street, there’s a daycare center. The home is feete away from a Belmore Merrick school.
“That’s exactly what we’ve been fighting for the last year and a half and this guy is across the street from a school, a daycare center, selling oxys out of his residence from the complaints that we received of cars coming and going day long,” Ryder said.
Faith Riggio was actually a school aide in the North Merrick School district. She’s being held on $50,000 bond at Nassau County Correctional Center, where her husband is being held for ten times that amount.