A retired NYPD narcotics detective is among the more than dozen people arrested in a heroin trafficking network blamed for pushing packets linked to several overdoses on Long Island and in Brooklyn and Queens, authorities say.
Fourteen people were indicted in the alleged drug operation, which was distributing more than 23,000 doses of heroin a week for a total of about $170,000, prosecutors said Friday. A dozen more people were arrested in the course of the investigation, for a total of 26 people facing charges.
The Brooklyn man leading the operation, Leigh Jackson, and other people in the Bushwick-based network packaged and sold heroin in packages stamped "Taster's Choice," distributing them in barber shops and auto body shops in Brooklyn, Nassau County prosecutors say. The dealers would then sell them in Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn.
Taster's Choice heroin has been linked to several overdoses, including a 23-year-old woman's fatal overdose in Garden City Park in June 2016, prosecutors said.
Jackson's longtime partner, Karan Young, is a retired NYPD detective formerly assigned to the naroctics bureau, prosecutors said. Young, who was working for Delta Airlines at LaGuardia Airport at the time of her arrest, collected money for Jackson.
When Jackson was arrested April 26, he had an NYPD police shield reading "Detective's Husband."
A lawyer for Young, Chris Graziano, said she denies any involvement in the distribution and sale of drugs. Young has pleaded not guilty, and "we will fight the case," Graziano said.
Jackson allegedly sold heroin to other dealers for about $60 a gram, and 100-bag sleeves for $500.
As part of the sting, authorities seized two guns, ammunition, about $12,000 in cash, 1,000 prepackaged decks of heroin and loose heroin that would have produced more than 2,000 more bags, authorities said.
Twelve of the 14 indicted people in the alleged drug ring have been arraigned on charges ranging from felony operating as a major trafficker and conspiracy. Four of them -- Jackson, James Bermudez, Maurice Pelzer and Robert Parker -- face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of operating as a major trafficker.
Another suspect is in custody awaiting arraignment, and another has yet to be arrested, authorities said.
The 15-month investigation involving 10 agencies started when investigators in Nassau began looking into a street-level dealer based in Hempstead in January 2016; it turned out that dealer, Hamilton Croft, was being supplied by Jackson, prosecutors said.
Croft, an alleged Bloods gang member, has been charged in the 2011 fatal shooting of an innocent bystander shot on a Hempstead street.