Two arrested after fatal overdose in Rockville Centre


Two men were arrested on Jan. 8 after detectives in the Nassau County Police Department investigated a fatal overdose that occurred in Rockville Centre the day before.

Police arrested David Gugel, 36, of Floral Park, and Michael Thomas, 25, of Elmont, for allegedly being linked to the fatal overdose of a 38-year-old woman, who police declined to identify.

The Rockville Centre Police Department was the first to respond to the overdose on Jan. 7, according to village spokeswoman Julie Scully. A Northwell Health ambulance responded at 4:24 p.m.

It was the first fatal overdose in Rockville Centre in 2019 and the sixth since 2013, according to Rockville Centre Police Commissioner James Vafeades. There were three fatal overdoses in 2014, one in 2015 and one in 2018.

Thomas was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and nine counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Gugel was arrested on one count of those same charges.

Both defendants were scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 9 at First District Court in Hempstead.

Nassau Police confiscated $600 from the men, as well as 50 envelopes of heroin and three bags of cocaine, which officials said would be forwarded to a lab for testing.

Gugel was previously arrested for possession of a controlled substance and criminal assault. Thomas was previously arrested for violent robbery, which he served one year in prison for.

“It’s a success story, but it’s never a success story when we lose a life,” Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said at a news briefing on Jan. 9. “With Operation Natalie, our mission is to continue our multi-pronged approach toward going after these individuals that are dealing drugs here in Nassau County.”

Ryder added that there was a 24 percent reduction of nonfatal overdoses and a 12 percent reduction of fatal overdoses in the county last year.