Bridget Brennan’s Message

I write this message at a time when, as a city and as a nation, we face unprecedented challenges. The importance of how we respond at this critical moment cannot be overstated.

More than 24,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 in New York City alone as of November of 2020 and the nation has entered a second wave of the pandemics. We mourn for those who have died and for their families, and are deeply concerned for all those who continue to endure hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The past year was marked by mass demonstrations and widespread anger following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other acts of police violence. Like many law enforcement agencies across the city and the nation, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) office is closely examining policies and practices. We are committed to doing our part to address systemic racism, and ensure that defendants and victims will be justly and fairly treated, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or nation of origin.

Even as we are involved in a historic moment of reflection, SNP continues its critically important mission to protect the public from lethal drugs.

We use a strategic approach, responding to a deadly opioid crisis of historic proportion with focused prosecutions, while reducing arrests and incarceration. Sadly, drug over

dose deaths are on the rise across the nation. Because New York City is a regional hub of drug distribution, we focus on high level drug traffickers to remove substantial quantities of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and other dangerous narcotics from the top of the supply chain, before they ever hit the streets. We also respond to calls for assistance from communities beset by street-level drug networks, and organizations linked to overdose deaths and violence. The Office also has expertise in prosecuting corrupt doctors and other medical practitioners involved in the illicit distribution of prescription drugs.

Our focused approach allows us to have the greatest impact on community safety and save lives, while supporting alternatives to incarceration and lowering arrests.
 

About Us

A local prosecutors’ office with citywide jurisdiction, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) is responsible for felony narcotics investigations and prosecutions in the five boroughs of New York City. Built on a task force model, SNP is the only agency of its kind in the nation.

The city’s five District Attorneys appointed Bridget G. Brennan as the Special Narcotics Prosecutor on May 1, 1998. The District Attorneys also assign Assistant District Attorneys to serve in SNP. Ms. Brennan oversees a staff of approximately 200 legal and support personnel. The agency has its own budget for operating expenses and is funded by the city, state and federal government.

Under Ms. Brennan’s leadership, the office has developed expertise to meet challenges posed by each new phase of the deadly opioid epidemic. Ms. Brennan has worked to raise public awareness about the heighten risk of overdose, most recently linked to lethal synthetic opioid drugs that saturate the supply of narcotics in New York City.

Since assuming leadership of the agency, Ms. Brennan established the Heroin Trafficking Interdiction Unit, the Prescription Drug Investigation Unit, the Digital Forensic Unit, the Narcotics Gang Unit and the Money Laundering and Financial Investigation Unit.

A prosecutor for over 25 years, Ms. Brennan joined the New York County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney in 1983. Before her legal career, she was a print, radio and television reporter in her native Wisconsin. Ms. Brennan graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School with a Juris Doctor degree. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin.
 

STRATEGIC ENFORCEMENT

SNP implements a strategic approach to protecting the public and saving lives that reduces arrests and incarceration. This approach is consistent with SNP’s commitment to promoting fairness and justice. By intercepting large amounts of lethal narcotics at the top of the supply chain, and investigating and prosecuting high-level traffickers, SNP prevents countless overdoses and street-level arrests.

chart showing SNP Indictments and Seizures of 2009 and 2019
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Multi-Pronged Approach

In order to fulfill its public safety mission and reduce arrests and incarceration, SNP developed a multi-pronged approach to strategic enforcement that includes Supply Reduction, Overdose Death Investigations, Prescription Drug Investigations, Community Impact and Treatment Alternatives.

 

Supply Reduction

As its central mission, SNP works to prevent overdose deaths by removing bulk quantities of dangerous drugs from the highest levels of the supply chain. New York City serves as a regional hub for the distribution of narcotics produced by international trafficking organizations. Drug shipments flow through the city to local distributors and organizations in surrounding states.
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Overdose Death Investigations

By investigating overdose deaths, SNP and its partners seek to identify organizations that supply lethal drugs and thereby prevent further fatalities. A close working relationship with public health agencies enables SNP to identify new lethal drugs impacting the city in order to develop effective strategies.
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DRugs and violence

SNP strives to protect New York City neighborhoods from the destabilizing effects of drug-related violence by investigating a wide variety of organizations, from street gang affiliates to entrenched narcotics distribution groups. The office is committed to devoting resources to help strengthen communities impacted by narcotics-related crime.

 

Prescription Drug Investigations

Widely recognized for its expertise in investigating and prosecuting those involved illegal trafficking in prescription drugs, including corrupt medical practitioners, SNP’s Prescription Drug Investigation Unit (PDIU) was created in 2011. As a result of these enforcement efforts, combined with improved education for doctors, increased public awareness and enhanced regulatory systems, the supply of diverted prescription drugs in New York City has been reduced.
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Community Impact

SNP responds to community complaints about narcotics trafficking by conducting investigations and providing resources to neighborhoods. Assistant District Attorneys work closely with the NYPD to address complaints about drug crimes and related violence. Additionally, the Community Outreach Unit meets with community and religious leaders, block associations, the New York City Housing Authority, while conferring regularly with NYPD officials to devise strategies to combat crime. Once an investigation is completed and a drug organization is removed from a building or neighborhood, resources are devoted toward providing community support services. Learn More

 

Treatment Alternatives

Eligible felony defendants with substance abuse disorder are provided with an array of treatment options. SNP’s Alternative Sentencing Division has successfully worked for 30 years to provide treatment services as an alternative to incarceration through SNP’s pioneering Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP) programs. Experienced office staff also assist in screening applicants for Judicial Diversion, which the New York State Legislature established in 2009, granting judges authority to evaluate eligibility for court-sponsored diversion programs. Because SNP prosecutes felony cases, as opposed to misdemeanors, alternative programs are offered post-arraignment. Learn More