An investigation into heroin overdoses in Queens has led to the arrest of a 66-year-old Corona man who, for the last two months, sold the drug mixed with the opioid painkiller Fentanyl.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Hubert Harris, 66, of 102 Street in Corona was charged with third- and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.
On April 6, an undercover detective witnessed Harris giving a man 10 glassine envelopes. The cops found five white envelopes and 5 blue envelopes. The white envelopes contained a mixture of heroin, Fentanyl and cocaine while the blue envelopes contained Fentanyl and Tramadol, a prescription pain killer.
On May 9, NYPD’s Queens North Narcotics Division stopped Harris at 41st Road and 12th Street as he was riding his bicycle and recovered 98 white glassine envelopes, which contained a mixture of heroin and Fentanyl.
Harris faces up to 12 years in prison and was ordered held on $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 24.
“My office is committed to working closely with the NYPD and our federal law enforcement colleagues to stop this growing epidemic,” Brown said. “According to data from the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there were more than 1,300 fatal overdoses in New York City in 2016, and perhaps more disturbing, is that approximately half of the drug overdoses in the last six months of 2016 involved Fentanyl.”
Since the beginning of 2017, there have been more than 65 non-fatal overdoses in Queens County. During the same time, there have been 57 fatal overdoses, which exceed the number of homicides and vehicular deaths this year.
“Most troubling is that we are witnessing heroin being mixed with the synthetic drug Fentanyl, which is thirty to fifty times more potent than heroin,” Brown said. “This is creating a deadly cocktail for people who may be using such a mixture unknowingly.”
Under federal law, if a dealer sells drugs laced with Fentanyl and the buyer dies, the seller can face a minimum of 20 years in prison. According to Brown, it does not matter if the seller had no knowledge of the Fentanyl and he pledged to track each person who sells drugs laced with the painkiller.