One of the defendants is a retired NYPD Narcotics Detective; Twelve others arrested
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that 14 people have been indicted for their alleged involvement in a large-scale heroin ring that operated in Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn.
The defendants allegedly distributed more than 23,000 doses of heroin a week and conservatively sold approximately $170,000 a week of the narcotic.
Most the individuals have been arrested and arraigned on various charges ranging from Operating as a Major Trafficker (an A-I felony), Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree (a B felony), and Conspiracy in the 4th Degree (an E felony).
Four of the defendants – Leigh Jackson, James Bermudez, Maurice Pelzer and Robert Parker – face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of Operating as a Major Trafficker.
Twelve of the 14 indicted individuals have been arraigned, one is in custody awaiting arraignment and one has yet to be arrested. An additional 12 defendants were arrested as part of the investigation for a total of 26 defendants. The arrests are the result of 15-month-long investigation into local heroin distributors by the NCDA, the Nassau County Police Department and the FBI Long Island Gang Taskforce, with the assistance of the Hempstead Police Department, Rockville Centre Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, Suffolk County Police Department, New York Police Department and other agencies.
As a result of the executed search warrants, two firearms, ammunition, approximately $12,000 in cash, as well as 1,000 prepackaged decks of heroin and loose heroin that once packaged would have produced more than 2,000 additional bags, have been recovered.
“This operation followed an alleged street-level dealer back to a major narcotics trafficking network that was dealing more than 20,000 doses of heroin each week in our neighborhoods,” said DA Singas. “Our collaborative, multi-front assault on heroin dealers has led to more than 50 arrests in the past month alone and we will not rest until this epidemic is over. I thank our law enforcement partners for their outstanding work.”
Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said, “The recent arrests of 25 individuals by the FBI Long Island Gang Task Force is yet another blow to the illegal drug trade. A total of ten law enforcement agencies worked collaboratively and tirelessly for months to bring these defendants to justice. These arrests should be a stark reminder that we will investigate and arrest those responsible for this illegal activity to keep our communities safe. I would also like to congratulate all involved during the investigation for a job well done.”
“Everyone arrested and charged in this case had an alleged role in selling a dangerous mixture of drugs that is killing people. Our goal is to go after the suppliers and the head of these organizations. However, we won’t be able to completely eradicate criminals who want to make money selling illegal drugs if they continue to have a customer base that keeps returning for more. The FBI Long Island Gang Task Force puts all the member agencies together as one team to use aggressive action against the deadly issues of heroin and other gang violence in this community,” said William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director In Charge of the FBI New York Field Office.
DA Singas said that, according to the 12-count indictment, the NCDA began investigating a Hempstead-based heroin dealer in January 2016. The investigation revealed that the dealer was supplied by a Bushwick-based narcotics operation led by Leigh Jackson a/k/a Chris.
Jackson and other members of the Bushwick-based distribution network, allegedly packaged and sold heroin in sleeves and grams to various drug dealers in Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn and used barber shops and auto body shops in Brooklyn as distribution points.
Jackson allegedly sold prepackaged heroin stamped “Taster’s Choice” – which was linked to several overdoses – including at least one fatal overdose here in Nassau County in June of 2016
The victim in that case was a 23-year old woman from Garden City Park.
Jackson, who allegedly only sold in grams and sleeves, sold heroin to other dealers for approximately $60 a gram and 100-bag sleeves for $500.
Sanders, one of the individuals Jackson supplied heroin to, allegedly sold ten-dose bundles for $75 and 100-bag sleeves for $650.
Jackson allegedly supplied Hamilton Croft a/k/a Rico and Roger Liburd a/k/a Butta, of Elmont, with this packaged heroin that they allegedly resold here in Nassau County. Croft largely sold to customers in Hicksville, Levittown and Long Beach.
Jackson also allegedly supplied heroin in significant weight to Maurice Pelzer, Robert Parker, a/k/a Hopp, and James Bermudez, who sold heroin to their own customer networks.
Pelzer allegedly sold heroin to dealers who then resold in upstate Putnam County, while Bermudez allegedly sold drugs out of state.
Jackson is alleged to have supplied heroin to Omari Sanders a/k/a King Supreme and Russell King who then re-sold heroin to customers in Queens and Nassau. Sanders, from Springfield Gardens, had more than a sleeve (100 glassines/doses) in his possession as well as packaging material and other paraphernalia when he was arrested. King, based in South Ozone Park, had more than 60 grams of heroin, packaging material, scales, grinders, and 3 different stamps when he was apprehended.
Jackson’s long-time partner, Karan Young, is a retired NYPD detective formerly assigned to the Narcotics Bureau. Young allegedly assisted Jackson in his narcotics distribution business by collecting money for him. At the time of her arrest Young was working for Delta Airlines at LaGuardia Airport.
At the time of Jackson’s arrest on April 26, he was in possession of an NYPD police shield in a case that said “Detective’s Husband.”
Croft was arrested in February and subsequently charged with Murder in the 2nd Degree (an A-I felony) for a July 2011 shooting, as well as Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (B felony) for sales he committed to Nassau customers during the course of the investigation. The shooting victim in that case was left a quadriplegic from a gunshot wound to the neck and died from those injuries several years later.
Assistant District Attorneys Lee Genser and Tova Simpson, Deputy Bureau Chief Christiana McSloy and Bureau Chief Ed Friedenthal of DA Singas’ Special Operations, Narcotics and Gangs Bureau are prosecuting the case.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.###