What to Know
- Police arrested five people on felony charges for allegedly helping run a heroin network on Staten Island
- A bust this week was the result of an 11-month investigation following the overdose death of a pregnant woman early last year
- Police said drugs were dealt in several neighborhoods and on school grounds
Five people face felony charges for allegedly dealing heroin and other drugs in several Staten Island neighborhoods, including on school grounds.
Police say Jessica Chaikin, 28, Frank DeGaetano, 28, Amanda Gavrity, 25, Amanda Dimarinis, 25, and Dylan Lopez, 27, were part of a drug-dealing network that transported heroin and fentanyl into Staten Island from New Jersey.
The bust is the result of an 11-month investigation sparked by the death of a Staten Island woman and her unborn child. Police dubbed the investigation “Blue Angel” in reference to the pregnant woman, who fatally overdosed last year.
"This takedown puts a crimp in the pipeline of heroin and fentanyl being funneled into Staten Island,” District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said.
Police say Chaikin was a source and supplier operating out of Edison Township, New Jersey, and that Dimarinis, a paraprofessional for I.S. 49, sold fentanyl on school grounds during her lunch break. The Department of Education said Dimarinis was immediately suspended without pay after her arrest. She was hired part-time in September 2015 and became a full-time staff member in March 2016.
Parents were in disbelief that the drug ring was traced to the middle school where they thought their kids were safe.
"I can't believe that. I really can't believe a staff member is in there selling any kind of drug," said parent Bruce Pough.
"In the school? A para that works here? That's awful. That's horrible. That's horrible to hear, are you kidding me?" said Antonio Martinez.
It wasn't clear if any student or school employee ever purchased drugs from Dimarinis.
It wasn’t immediately known if the five suspects have attorneys to comment on the charges.
Officers executed search warrants at three locations and arrested the five suspects. Police say they also seized a stash of drugs, including 400 glassines of heroin and a quantity of cocaine, as well as $11,000 in cash.