by Philp Newman
A 45-year-old Astoria man has been charged with recklessly endangering lives for knowingly selling and possessing narcotic drugs containing the opioid painkiller Fentanyl, the Queens DA said this week. His wife also has been arrested on drug-related charges, according to prosecutors.
DA Richard Brown identified the defendants as Bernard Lewis, 45, and wife Catrice S. Brown, 44, of Astoria. Both were arraigned last Friday before Criminal Court Judge Althea Drysdale. Lewis was held without bail, while bail was set at $50,000 for Brown.
Lewis was arrested following a long-term drug investigation in Astoria and Jackson Heights, which involved court-authorized wiretaps that monitored drug sales, the DA said. A court-ordered search warrant at Lewis’ home turned up one large rock of Fentanyl, glassine envelopes used to package Fentanyl and heroin, and 750 envelopes containing Fentanyl, according to Brown. Police also discovered several containers that held marijuana in the back seat of a vehicle registered to Brown, prosecutors said.
In a 15-count criminal complaint filed by the DA’s office, Lewis was accused of the criminal sale of narcotics near school grounds, reckless endangermeant and using drug paraphernalia. If convicted, Lewis faces up to 12 years in prison.
Brown is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana, which could bring as much as nine years in prison if she is found guilty, the DA said.
The DA pointed out that since the first of the year, Queens has the second highest rate of non-fatal overdoses in New York City with 109 to date.
“The lives of most of those individuals were saved only after receiving Naxolone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdoses,” Brown said. “Heroin, unfortunately, has made a deadly comeback in New York City and in surrounding suburbs.
“Over the past 6½ months, Queens has had 81 fatal overdoses, exceeding the numbers of homicides and vehicular deaths this year and deaths the past year.”
The next court date for the couple is Aug. 4.