Seven Arrested in New York City and New Jersey Following Staten Island Overdose Death

Seven Arrested in New York City and New Jersey Following

Staten Island Overdose Death

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon announced today the arrest and indictment of seven alleged narcotic traffickers for allegedly selling heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in New York City and Newark, N.J. The investigation began after a 24-year-old woman fatally overdosed in Staten Island.

An indictment filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor contains charges of Conspiracy and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance. Arraignments are scheduled to take place today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Neil E. Ross in Part 23, 100 Centre Street.

The arrests are the result of a long-term wiretap investigation with the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Criminal Enterprise Investigation Section and the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office. Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon reviewed and submitted multiple eavesdropping applications for court authorization.

Police initiated the investigation, dubbed “Operation Smack Down,” following the death of a 24-year-old woman who overdosed in her bedroom at 291 Myrtle Avenue in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island on October 21, 2016. Responding to a 911 call, police found the woman alive but unresponsive and administered naloxone, an overdose antidote. She was removed to Richmond University Medical Center, where she died the following day. An autopsy showed heroin, fentanyl and cocaine were present in the woman’s system.

At the scene of the overdose, police recovered empty glassine envelopes of the type used to package heroin stamped with the brand name “Passion.” An analysis of the victim’s cellphone and other investigative leads enabled police to identify defendant MACK PATTERSON, aka “Butter,” a resident of Staten Island, as an individual believed to have sold the “Passion” stamped narcotics to the victim.

Over the course of approximately six months, undercover NYPD officers purchased narcotics from PATTERSON and his alleged co-conspirators on 11 occasions for a total of $20,000. All but one sale involved heroin and/or fentanyl.

During the first three sales to the undercover officer, between November 29, 2016 and January 4, 2017, PATTERSON sold 330 glassine envelopes containing a mixture of heroin and fentanyl stamped with the name “Passion.” Defendant JAVIER SOLIS, of Staten Island, also participated in one of these sales.

A dangerously potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is approximately 50 times stronger than heroin and is increasingly found mixed into the illicit narcotics supply in New York City. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fentanyl is driving a spike in fatal overdoses, which reached an all-time high of 1,374 deaths in New York City in 2016 – a 46% increase over 2015.

In setting up the drug transactions, an undercover officer contacted PATTERSON by phone and drove to an agreed upon location in Staten Island where PATTERSON entered the vehicle. PATTERSON then directed the undercover officer to one of three addresses in Newark, N.J., where PATTERSON exited the vehicle and returned a short time later with narcotics. In some instances, police observed PATTERSON meet with a supplier.

As a result of the wiretap investigation, initiated in March of 2017, detectives identified BRANDON FELIX, MARCUS ALEXANDER and ODELL WILSON, alleged heroin and fentanyl suppliers based in Newark, N.J., and FRANK HOPKINS, an alleged cocaine supplier from Jamaica, Queens. Police also identified additional Staten Island-based dealers who allegedly worked with PATTERSON.

In addition to the brand name “Passion,” undercover officers purchased heroin and/or fentanyl stamped “Blue Magic,” “Dope,” “Family Guy,” “Bull” and “Frank Lucas.” In the final and largest sale on May 9, 2017, PATTERSON allegedly sold 843 glassines of heroin and/or fentanyl bearing a variety of brand names to an undercover officer for $4,980.

Members of the NYPD’s Criminal Enterprise Section and the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Unit North arrested six defendants in Staten Island, Queens and Newark this morning. Police conducted court authorized searches at the residences of PATTERSON, 806 Henderson Avenue, Apt. 7H, Staten Island, and HOPKINS, 163-30 145th Road, Queens.

FELIX was in possession of approximately 30 grams of heroin and a quantity of cocaine at the time of his arrest by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Unit North. Glassine envelopes of heroin police seized from FELIX bore the same brand names as those sold to the undercover officers during the investigation.

PATTERSON has been in custody since July 6, 2017, when he was arrested while allegedly selling multiple glassines of heroin to a customer at approximately 8:50 p.m. at 869 Forest Avenue on Staten Island. The Richmond County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting PATTERSON in connection with this arrest, which is separate from the long-term investigation. A criminal complaint charges PATTERSON with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third, Fifth and Seventh Degrees.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigations Bureau, Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Criminal Enterprise Section and the New Jersey State Police.

“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. “I commend District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and our partners in the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for their unflinching commitment to roll back the epidemic disproportionately affecting Staten Island. I thank the New York City Police Department for their dedication and targeted investigations which identify the source of lethal drugs and upend drug dealing networks that have brought so much tragedy to our city.”

Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, “With these types of targeted investigations we are holding drug dealers accountable for the lives they destroy as overdose deaths continue to plague towns and cities across the country, especially here in Staten Island. My office will continue to work closely with Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan and her talented team as well as the dedicated members of the NYPD to battle the heroin and opioid epidemic on all fronts.”

“Thanks to the diligence of our detectives, significant amounts of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine are off our streets,” said NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “Far too many young lives are being lost because of fatal overdoses on illegal drugs. The NYPD will continue to pursue anyone responsible for producing or selling dangerous synthetic compounds.”

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Kati Cornell
(212) 815-0525
kcornell@snp.nyc.gov

 

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