Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced today the arrest and indictment of four defendants who worked for a Brooklyn-based drug delivery service and sold crack-cocaine, heroin and fentanyl in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Sunset Park.
The arrests are the result of a long-term investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Since August 2016, the defendants allegedly made more than two dozen sales of narcotics, including cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, to undercover NYPD officers for over $45,000. These sales were typically set up by phone and the defendants arrived at pre-arranged meeting places by car. Defendant RASHEEM MEREDITH, who allegedly oversaw the delivery service, made frequent trips between Brooklyn and his residence in Bethlehem, Penn., which allegedly doubled as a drug stash house. MEREDITH is charged with selling both heroin and cocaine.
During the investigation, defendant JOSEPH DALE sold fentanyl to an undercover officer through the delivery service and subsequently sold to the undercover directly. DALE packaged the fentanyl in glassine envelopes filled with five times more powder than is typically found inside a glassine envelope of heroin. DALE sold more than 1,800 of these “supersized” glassine envelopes of pure fentanyl and a small amount of heroin to an undercover officer for over $34,000 over the course of a dozen meetings.
The largest sale involved 601 glassine envelopes for $16,500 on April 7, 2017 inside a vehicle in the vicinity of 1735 70th Street, a residential block in Bensonhurst. In conversations with the undercover officer, DALE referred to the strength of the fentanyl and called it “China White.” DALE was arrested last night as he sold 600 glassines of what is believed to be fentanyl (pending laboratory testing) to an undercover officer in the vicinity of his home at 7402 17th Avenue in Bensonhurst.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “The marketing ploys alleged in the charges unveiled today greatly increased the risk of death for South Brooklyn customers of the drug delivery service. Traffickers touted their ‘China White’ as containing five doses in a single bag. Bags were filled with pure fentanyl; even a miniscule amount of fentanyl can send a user into overdose so rapidly that lifesaving antidotes are ineffective. I thank the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Police Department, as well as our law enforcement partners in Pennsylvania for finding the source of this deadly drug, and putting the boot on this lethal drug delivery service.”
Fentanyl is a dangerously strong synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times stronger than heroin and is currently driving a spike in overdose deaths in New York City. In 2016, fatal drug overdoses in the city reached an all-time high of an estimated 1,300 deaths, which is a 30% increase over total drug overdose deaths for 2015. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene attributed more than half of these deaths to fentanyl.
Originally developed as an anesthetic and for the treatment of severe pain, an illicit form of fentanyl is now being manufactured by drug cartels in Mexico and smuggled across the border, sometimes in large shipments of other narcotics, such as heroin. Precursor chemicals for the synthetic opioid originate in China, among other countries. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. While this investigation involved fentanyl sold in a pure form, other investigations revealed that fentanyl is often mixed with drugs such as heroin and cocaine, or pressed into counterfeit pills.
MEREDITH was arrested in Sunset Park, Brooklyn yesterday evening during a sale of 30 glassines of heroin to an undercover officer. He was also in possession of a quantity of crack-cocaine and three cellphones. Members of the Bethlehem Police Department in Pennsylvania conducted a search of MEREDITH’s residence yesterday and recovered a firearm and a quantity of heroin.
Last night, NYPD officers conducted a court authorized search of the shared residence of DALE and defendant EDWIN PEDROZA, an alleged member of the drug delivery service, at 7402 17th Avenue in Brooklyn. They recovered quantities of what is believed to be fentanyl (pending laboratory testing), cocaine and crack-cocaine, assorted pills and marijuana, as well as drug packaging paraphernalia, seven cellphones and approximately $2,500 cash. A total of three vehicles were seized during the investigation.
An indictment filed by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office contains charges of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second and Third Degrees. Arraignments are expected to take place today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Felicia A. Mennin, Part 22, 111 Centre Street, 9th floor.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Trial Division, the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South, Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and the Bethlehem Police Department.
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.Download Press Release
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
New York City Police Department