Dr. William "Doc" Spencer, 53, was taken into custody in a parking lot in Elwood. He appeared for his arraignment on Wednesday at the Central Islip courthouse via video conference, his hands cuffed behind his back and leaning forward while wearing a blue short-sleeved prison shirt and mask.
He was released without bail on his own recognizance. In agreement for release, Spencer was ordered to surrender his passport, his pistol license -- he has a pistol permit but not a licence to carry, according to authorities -- as well as any other firearms he may have by Thursday.
Spencer is being charged with criminal possession and sale in the third degree, according to Assistant District Attorney Kevin Ward.
He is due back in court on Feb. 26. If convicted of the top count, Spencer faces a maximum sentence of up to nine years in prison.
According to Ward, Spencer made "oral admissions" to officers that there is also an ongoing investigation into his past conduct which will involve additional search warrants and evidence recovered from his cellphone.
"Dr. Spencer has dedicated his life to his community, family and his patients," said Spencer's attorney.
"The message here is that the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office will continue to work in partnership with all of the law enforcement agencies operating here on Long Island, including the DEA and members of the Long Island Heroin Task Force, to hold criminals accountable no matter who they are or what their walk of life is," Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said, in a statement. "This investigation is very much ongoing, and justice will be served in this case."
Spencer, of Centerport, was allegedly under the presumption he would be meeting a prostitute in a parking lot to trade the oxycodone pills for sex -- but it was a sting operation.
He was in an official Suffolk County vehicle at the time of the arrest.
Spencer is a well-known doctor who has been a legislator in Suffolk County's 18th District since 2011 and serves on an opioid task force. A pediatric surgeon, he was reported as the first doctor to serve on the Suffolk County Legislature in its 50-year history, according to Smithtown Matters. He is the chief of otolaryngology at Huntington Hospital and an associate clinical professor at Stony Brook University Hospital, according to his biography on the Suffolk County Legislature's website.