A 45-year-old Astoria man was arrested for possessing and selling heroin laced with Fentanyl, which led to two non-fatal overdoses.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Bernard Lewis, with the help of a Corona man who was recently arrested, was selling the drug around the borough and was stashing his supply at home. Detectives conducted a long-term investigation in Astoria and Jackson Heights that included court-authorized wiretaps.
Since the beginning of 2017, Queens has experienced the second largest rate of non-fatal overdoses with 109 to date. The city announced that they would go after drug dealers who sold opioids laced with Fentanyl to try to stem the tide of overdoses.
“Heroin, unfortunately, has made a deadly comeback in New York City and in the surrounding suburbs,” Brown said. “Over the past six and a half months, Queens has had 81 fatal overdoses – far exceeding the number of homicides and vehicular deaths that have occurred in the borough so far this year.”
According to investigators, Lewis had telephone conversations with six people between April 6 and June 17 who asked to purchase heroin. Investigators arrested all six buyers and seized the drugs to chemically analyze them and found Fentanyl in the product.
On May 9, Lewis’ associate Hubert Harris, a 66-year-old man from Corona, called him to request more drugs. He went to Lewis’ Astoria home and spent approximately 45 minutes inside. Soon after, NYPD’s Queens North Narcotics Division stopped Harris on the corner of 41st Road and 12th street.
They found 98 glassine envelopes and he 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 May 11, Harris called Lewis from prison to tell him about his $100,000 bail. Lewis argued that he could not help his associate because“if I use a bondsman they gonna want know where the money came from. I can’t do that.”
Harris acknowledged that the bail was so high because the drugs were laced with Fentanyl.
“This [expletive deleted] DA talking about it was Fentanyl, and people dying on Fentanyl and the judge went for it.”
Lewis responded by suggesting that he should have purchased underwear with a pocket on the inside to better hide the drugs.
“I shoulda bought you underwear so you could put the [expletive deleted] in there,” he said in the phone call.
On July 19, investigators searched Lewis’ house in Astoria and found a rock of Fentanyl; a box with empty glassine envelopes; a spoon with Fentanyl residue; two large plastic bags containing more than 750 glassine envelopes with Fentanyl; and $2,900 in cash.
A second search warrant on Catrice Brown, Lewis’ wife, was executed and police found several containers with marijuana and a marijuana cigarette in her car.
Lewis is charged with one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, six counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds, one count of fourth-degree conspiracy, four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison.
Brown is charge with one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana. If convicted, she faces up to nine years in prison.
Both Lewis and Brown were ordered to return to court on Aug. 4.