Bryan Hale at his arraignment in Suffolk County Criminal Court in March 2019. Photo: James Carbone

A Flanders man accused of allowing two other men to sell drugs out of his Riverhead auto repair shop has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and is awaiting sentencing in Suffolk County Criminal Court.

Bryan Hale, 52, of Flanders, was facing five felony counts under a March 8 indictment that also charged John Brophy, 49, of Riverhead and LsShawn Lawrence, 35, of Greenport, with manslaughter and drug sale charges in the September 2018 overdose death of a man in Riverhead.

Hale allowed Brophy and Lawrence to sell drugs out of his auto repair shop at 500 Lincoln Street, according to Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini.

Prosecutors say Brophy and Lawrence sold heroin laced with fentanyl and were aware of the lethal nature of the mixture.

Brophy had to use Narcan on one of his customers not long before the overdose death of Lawrence Yaccarino on Swezey Avenue Sept. 19, according to the district attorney.

East End Drug Task Force investigators confiscated Brophy’s cell phone when they executed a search warrant and recovered text messages between him and Lawrence discussing the potency of the heroin/fentanyl mix, Sini said at a press conference in March.

Hale pleaded guilty on Aug. 9 to one count of attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (narcotic drug), a class C felony. He is free on a $200,000 bond and is due in court for sentencing on Oct. 18.

Hale’s auto repair shop is located less than half a mile from two schools, Pulaski Street Elementary School and St. John Paul II Regional School. He was arrested on weapons and drug charges after the East End Drug Task Force conducted a raid at the shop on Aug. 31. 2012. Prosecutors said he was selling marijuana out of his shop.

Hale had previously been convicted of criminally negligent homicide and operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs after he struck and killed a woman who was swimming in Flanders Bay in 1994. He was also convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance conviction in 2000.

Brophy and Lawrence both pleaded not guilty in March to multiple felony charges. Neither posted bail and they are both in custody pending trial. Both are next due back in court on Monday, Aug. 26.

Editor’s note: A criminal charge is an accusation. A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.