Seven men were arrested and charged with drug trafficking in New York and New Jersey following a wiretap investigation after a 24-year-old woman fatally overdosed in Staten Island, authorities said. And another 16 people were arrested on Long Island in a separate bust.
The NYPD-Richmond County district attorney's office investigation, dubbed “Operation Smack Down,” began following the death of a 24-year-old woman who overdosed in her home at Port Richmond, Staten Island in 2016. An autopsy showed heroin, fentanyl and cocaine were present in the woman’s system.
Police recovered empty glassine envelopes stamped with the name "Passion."
Mack Patterson of Staten Island was believed to have sold the drugs with the special packaging to the victim.
Over the course of six months, undercover NYPD officers purchased narcotics including heroin, fentanyl from Patterson and his alleged co-conspirators 11 times, totaling $20,000.
Brandon Felix, Marcus Alexander, Odell Wilson were identified as alleged suppliers based in Newark, officials said. Frank Hopkins was identified as an alleged supplier from Jamaica, Queens, officials said. Robert Barbosa and Javier Solis were said to work with Patterson, according to officials.
“Like other New York City officials, I fear we will see a record number of fatal overdoses again this year. The spike in deaths is due to highly potent fentanyl, mixed with heroin and cocaine or packaged and sold alone. It is critical that we cut off the supply of drugs and bring those who are profiting from this tragedy to justice,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.
Arraignments were scheduled for Wednesday at Manhattan Supreme Court.
In a separate investigation, authorities said Wednesday 16 people were arrested in a heroin ring bust in Suffolk County that took in $1.5 million a year.
Drugs were delivered to customers' homes throughout Suffolk communities.
The alleged drug kingpin Oswald Alfaro, of Queens, and one other man face up to life in prison.