The Rockville Centre Police Department was among the units that helped bust a “large-scale” heroin ring in Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Fourteen people, including an Elmont man, have been indicted for their alleged roles in the ring, Singas said. Much of the heroin was sold in Long Beach, Hicksville and Levittown.
Rockville Centre Police Commissioner Charles Gennario said two of his detectives, whom he declined to identify, worked with the FBI Long Island Gang Taskforce and Nassau County detectives on its surveillance team and helped make the subsequent arrests.
“I’m always extremely proud of my detectives,” Gennario added. “They’re outstanding, hard-working investigators. They really do a great job. A lot of it is unseen, unfortunately.”
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 additional assistance from the RVC and Hempstead village police departments, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, the Suffolk County Police Department and the New York Police Department.
Two firearms, ammunition, about $12,000 in cash, 1,000 small packages 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 with 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.
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 overdoes in Nassau last June. The victim was a 23-year-old woman from Garden City Park.
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 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 and Roger Liburd of Elmont, which they resold in Nassau. Jackson also allegedly supplied high quantities of heroin to Pelzer, Parker and 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.
Jackson also allegedly supplied heroin to Omari Sanders and Russell King, who then resold heroin to users in Nassau and Queens. Sanders, of 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.