19 Arrested in Drug Ring at Long Island

By Robert E. Kessler
Staff Writer

October 24, 2002

A Long Island drug ring that included a luxury car dealer from Great Neck, the co-owner of a Garden City gym and the owner of a Westbury cell phone business has been broken up, officials said yesterday.

The 19 ring members arrested yesterday formed a complete network on Long Island that distributed five kilograms of cocaine per week for two years and included smugglers, distributors and a money launderer, according to U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf.

The ring also included people who provided cell phones and the identity information of real people so the cell phones the ring used could be registered to legitimate individuals, Mauskopf said. The identifications were allegedly obtained by a Freeport village employee who used a village computer to access them.

The case stemmed from investigations by several state and federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Nassau County Police Department, which were eventually combined, officials said.

The leader of the ring was identified as Marcel Séjour, 29, of Uniondale, who officials said boasted on wiretapped conversations that he was working with unidentified government and military officials in Haiti. The officials ripped off Haitian drug dealers and then helped smuggle the drugs from Haiti to Long Island, Séjour claimed. No Haitian officials were named in the indictment yesterday, but officials said the investigation was continuing.

Séjour, a Haitian native who allegedly made at least $6.5 million selling cocaine on Long Island in the past two years, used his mother, Enouse Pierre, who was also arrested, to help launder some of those proceeds, officials said.

Enouse Pierre, 53, of Uniondale, and other members purchased a number of Mercedes from Shahram Zarnighian, who owns a half-interest in the Royal Palace of Great Neck, a car dealership at 105 Northern Blvd., officials said.

In addition to charging Zarnighian with money laundering, federal prosecutors moved to seize his part in the dealership and his home at 8 Hickory Dr., Old Brookville. The phone at the dealership was not answered yesterday.

Also arrested yesterday were Gene Seymour, 35, of Elmont, co-owner of the Powerhouse Gym at 635 South St., Garden City; Jeune Benoit, 30, owner of Benoit Communications, 1007 Prospect Ave., Westbury; and Erwin Francois, 27, of Freeport, a payroll administrator for Freeport

village. Officials said Seymour’s gym served as a distribution center for the ring, and Benoit supplied cell phones.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Driscoll said 16 of the suspects were arraigned late yesterday in federal District Courts in Central Islip and Brooklyn and held without bail on various charges that could lead to up to life in prison upon conviction. Their lawyers could not be reached.
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