Fourteen people, including an Elmont man, Roger Liburd, have been indicted for their alleged roles in running a “large-scale” heroin ring in Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Much of the heroin was sold in Long Beach, Hicksville and Levittown. The Rockville Centre Police Department was among the units that helped bust the network, Singas said.
The defendants, including a retired New York Police Department narcotics detective, allegedly distributed more than 23,000 doses of heroin and sold roughly $170,000 worth of the drug per week.
At press time, most of the accused ring members had been arrested and arraigned on various charges, ranging from operating as a major trafficker to conspiracy.
Four of the defendants — Leigh Jackson, James Bermudez, Maurice Pelzer and Robert Parker — face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted as major drug traffickers, according to officials.
At press time, 12 of the 14 individuals had been arraigned, one was in custody awaiting arraignment and one was yet to be arrested. An additional 12 defendants were arrested in the investigation, for a total of 26 defendants.
The arrests resulted from a 15-month probe led by the D.A.’s office, the Nassau County Police Department and the FBI Long Island Gang Taskforce, with assistance from the RVC and Hempstead Village police departments, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Suffolk County Police Department and New York City Police Department.
Two firearms, ammunition, about $12,000 in cash, 1,000 prepackaged decks of heroin and loose heroin — which, once packaged, would have produced more than 2,000 additional bags — were 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,” Singas said.
Nassau 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.”
According to the indictment, the district attorney’s office began investigating a Hempstead-based heroin dealer in January 2016. The probe revealed that the dealer was supplied by a Bushwick, Brooklyn-based narcotics operation led by Leigh Jackson, a.k.a. Chris.
Jackson and other members of the Bushwick distribution network allegedly sold heroin in Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau, using barbershops and auto body shops in Brooklyn as distribution points, officials charged.
Authorities alleged that Jackson sold prepackaged heroin stamped “Taster’s Choice” — which was linked to several overdoses, including at least one fatal overdose in Nassau last June. The victim was a 23-year old woman from Garden City Park, according to Singas.
Jackson allegedly sold heroin to other dealers for about $60 a gram and 100-bag sleeves for $500, officials said. Sanders, one of the people to whom Jackson supplied with heroin, allegedly sold 10-dose bundles for $75 and 100-bag sleeves for $650.
The indictment alleged that Jackson supplied heroin to Hamilton Croft, a.k.a. Rico, and Roger Liburd, a.k.a. Butta, from Elmont, which they allegedly resold in Nassau. Jackson also allegedly supplied high quantities of heroin to Maurice Pelzer, Robert Parker, a.k.a. Hopp, and James Bermudez, who then sold it through other distribution networks.
Pelzer sold heroin to dealers, who then resold it in upstate Putnam County, while Bermudez allegedly sold drugs out of state, according to the indictment.
Jackson also allegedly supplied heroin to Omari Sanders, a.k.a. King Supreme, and Russell King, who then resold heroin to users in Nassau and Queens. Sanders, from Springfield Gardens, had more than a sleeve (100 glassine doses) on him, as well as packaging material and other paraphernalia, when he was arrested, officials said. King, based in South Ozone Park, had more than 60 grams of heroin, packaging material, scales, grinders and three different stamps.
Jackson’s long-time partner, Karan Young, is a retired NYPD detective formerly assigned to the Narcotics Bureau. Young allegedly assisted Jackson in the heroin distribution network by collecting money for him. At the time of her arrest, she was working for a major airline at LaGuardia Airport.
At the time of Jackson’s arrest on April 26, he showed authorities an NYPD police shield that read, “Detective’s Husband.”
Croft was arrested in February and charged with second-degree murder in connection with a July 2011 shooting, as well as third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. The shooting victim was left a quadriplegic from a gunshot wound to the neck and later died of those injuries, according to Singas.
Assistant District Attorneys Lee Genser and Tova Simpson, Deputy Bureau Chief Christiana McSloy and Bureau Chief Ed Friedenthal of Singas’s Special Operations, Narcotics and Gangs Bureau are prosecuting the case.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty. The defendants’ attorneys could not be reached at press time.