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5 charged in stolen-shrimp-for-drugs ring

February 5, 2013 2:35:05 PM PST
Police on Long Island have arrested four people accused of stealing frozen shrimp from supermarkets over the last two months.

The suspects, identified 34-year-old Joseph Elardo, 34-year-old Sharmane Cromer, 33-year-old James Donnellan and 22-year-old Nicole Johnson, all live together in the same home in Calverton.

During a petit larceny investigation, officers apparently discovered a pattern involving the theft of frozen shrimp valued at more than $2,400.

Officers identified the supects and reportedly pulled their vehicle over with the stolen goods inside on January 30.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the suspects were selling the frozen shrimp to a local Chinese restaurant to support their drug habits.

A search warrant was executed on January 31 at Tai Yu Chinese Restaurant on Mastic Beach Road in Mastic Beach, and owner Xue Chai Li was arrested and charged with criminal possession of stolen property.

Members of the Suffolk County Department of Health assisted with the search warrant and cited the establishment with a sanitary code violation for an unapproved source of authorized food.

The four suspects are charged with 22 counts of petit larceny, two counts of attempted larceny, two counts of possession of a hypodermic needle and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

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