A Long Island man has been indicted by a Queens grand jury on manslaughter charges for supplying heroin that caused two overdoses in the borough, after “saving” both by calling 911, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Justin Lum, 30, of Forest Row in Great Neck, was arraigned Oct. 3 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth C. Holder on a 15-count indictment in the overdose deaths.
Lum was allegedly distributing cocaine, Xanax, and heroin — in at least one case laced with fentanyl — to a woman and a man on two separate occasions. In both instances the victims overdosed and died.
In one instance, Lum woke up to find his girlfriend dead beside him less than 24 hours after the woman had been hospitalized for a non-fatal heroin overdose that the defendant witnessed.
“Even though fatal overdoses have been on the decline in Queens County this past year, every loss of life causes undue pain and heartache, particularly when the death could have been prevented,” Acting Queens County District Attorney John M. Ryan said. “The defendant in this case is accused of knowingly supplying drugs to both victims, even though he knew his girlfriend and the acquaintance had nearly died as a result of earlier overdoses, in one instance the non-fatal overdose was less than 24 hours before the victim’s death. The defendant’s alleged actions weren’t just intolerable and unconscionable. But they were also criminal.”
According to the charges, on April 27, 2017, Lum supplied heroin to his girlfriend — 28-year-old Brooklyn resident Patricia Collado — at a movie theater in College Point. The two watched a film and allegedly got high snorting lines of heroin. After the movie, the two allegedly use heroin supplied by Lum inside a parked car where Collado suddenly stopped talking and passed out.
Lum pulled the unconscious woman out of the car at 56th Avenue and Main Street, where first responders administered Naloxone to the woman and transported her to the hospital where Lum stayed by her bedside until she was discharged after 11 p.m.
The couple went to Lum’s grandfather’s house on Colden Street in Flushing where they allegedly snorted more heroin supplied by Lum. Collado went into cardiac arrest, but this time Lum did not call for medical attention and attempted to “stabilize her,” saying that he “didn’t want to call for the ambulance again.”
For an hour, as Collado foamed at the mouth, Lum allegedly consumed more drugs and went to sleep. Shortly after 8 a.m. the next morning Lum awoke to find the victim beside her unconscious. Only then did he call for an ambulance, but by the time first responders arrived she was dead. An autopsy report revealed that the heroin the victim consumed was laced with fentanyl.
Nearly a year later, Lum allegedly supplied heroin to Bayside resident Calvin Brown, who survived a near-fatal overdose at Lum’s Great Neck home after the defendant called 911 and administered CPR, prosecutors said. During an investigation that began following Collado’s death, a wiretap recorded a conversation between Lum telling a third client, that if he died, “You’d be technically my third body. I woke up next to my ex-girlfriend, like OD’d. The thing is, I saved her the night before.”
The recorded conversation continued with Lum telling the individual that “this other kid I save too. Just like three weeks ago…He just sniffed a line and then passed out. I did the chest compressions.”
According to the charges, Lum then told his client that he was safe from prosecution because of the “Good Samaritan law. I can’t get in trouble.”
Days later, Brown returned to Lum’s home to get more heroin and he was discovered dead by his mother at their Bayside home the following morning. An autopsy determined that Brown consumed heroin laced with several other narcotics.
“These are individuals who have become addicted to opioids and when heroin is laced with fentanyl there is an added risk since the synthetic opioid can be more than 50 times more potent than heroin,” Ryan said. “The dealers who profit from distributing these drugs bear responsibility when their clients die. This defendant thought he was safe from prosecution. He was dead wrong.”
If convicted on the charges of manslaughter and criminal sale of a controlled substance, Lum faces between 26 to 126 years in prison. Judge Holder remanded the defendant and ordered to return to court on Dec. 11.