Long Island priest arrested on drug charges, says sister's murder prompted crack cocaine use

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Stacey Sager has the details from Mineola.

A Roman Catholic priest from Long Island is facing drug charges after police said they caught him in what appeared to be a drug deal at a motel in Nassau County early Wednesday morning.

Nassau County police said detectives were on an unrelated narcotics investigation at the Bethpage Motel on Hempstead Turnpike, when they saw two men exchanging money in the parking lot. One was in a car and the other was staying at the hotel.

After the exchange, officers saw the driver of the car pull away - but they said he didn't use a turn signal when pulling out of the lot, so they pulled him over.

Police said the driver, 32-year-old Michael Oyola of the Bronx, had a clear bag of a substance believed to be marijuana on him, and he was placed under arrest.

Officers then found 63-year-old Robert Lubrano, who they saw go into the motel after the exchange. Lubrano is an unassigned priest from Farmingdale.

When police first approached Lubrano, he told them, "I have been smoking crack cocaine ever since my sister was murdered."

Lubrano's sister, 66-year-old Pat Ward, was decapitated by her mentally ill son in 2014. Her son then killed himself by jumping in front of a train.

On Lubrano, officers said they found a small white/yellowish rock-like substance believed to be crack cocaine and a metal pipe that appeared to have crack cocaine residue on it.

Lubrano was placed under arrest. He's charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and was expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
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