Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Terminal Proceed

June 24, 2005

Metropolitan Transit Authority police officer Donald Howell was still a rookie cop but already a seasoned drug dealer, Suffolk authorities said Thursday.

Howell, 32, of 26 Adobe Dr., Shirley, was one of nine arrested last week as part of what police say is a cocaine distribution network.

He joined the force in January and patrolled Grand Central Terminal. MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said Howell was terminated Thursday, but declined to give the reason.

Prosecutors said he had been selling cocaine for more than three years. Howell's attorney, Stephen Kunken of Commack, declined to comment on the charges.

Howell's girlfriend, Michelle Sandal, also was arrested and pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted conspiracy, prosecutors said. Sandal, 27, was released without bail. Her attorney declined to comment.

Authorities said cocaine was distributed by Matthew Chin, 31, of 900 Hayes St., Baldwin.

Chin, a Hauppauge mortgage broker, would then sell to Raymond Gray, 29, a carpet installer, of 53 Baybright Dr., Shirley, who then provided drugs to Howell.

Howell then sold to Alexander Pantelidis, 31, of 31 Tipton Dr. West, Shirley. From there, Pantelidis sold the drugs on the street, prosecutors said.

Pantelidis' attorney, Matthew Rosenblum of Central Islip, said 10 of his client's friends raised the $500,000 bond so that he could be free on Father's Day.

Attorneys for Chin and Gray denied their clients were involved with drugs.

Also arrested were Antony Marotta, 32, of 3 Cleveland St., Nesconset; Tomasz Budny, 41, of 246 E. Granada Ave., Lindenhurst; Gardy Pierre-Louis, 33, of 21-67 Renfrew Ave., Elmont; and Austin Devlin, 27, of 684 Nicolls Rd., Hauppauge.

Pierre-Louis' attorney, Alix Duroseau of the Bronx, said, "If my client was a so-called big-time drug dealer, he'd easily be able to make the $50,000 bail."

All were charged with conspiracy. Howell, Pantelidis and Gray also were charged with various counts and degrees of criminal sale of a controlled substance.


  by Robert Paniagua
Not again......

I still can't believe officers go bad in this profession, especially in this transit system. Unbeliavable, I hope that he gets removed for a while. It also could be that he may have been hanging with the "wrong crowd".

  by Lackawanna484
At this point, it's just an accusation. Unless he's convicted, he's innocent.

Cops, engineers, conductors, even weed weasles get the benefit of the doubt.

  by harmon44
Apparently, he was a criminal prior to becoming a cop. He slipped through the investigation cracks. However, if he is convicted he should be given a very harsh penalty.

  by Otto Vondrak

Is this a railroad issue or a cop issue? I'm not too terribly bothered by this story... can't let one bad apple spoil the bunch, as they say.