Queens District Attorney Richard Brown stood with law enforcement officials on Friday as they announced the arrests of heroin pushers using the Long Island Expressway as a heroin highway.
An 8-member gang from Queens and Brooklyn were arrested after a yearlong investigation by the NYPD. Residents of Queens and Long Island have regrettably seen the Long Island Expressway turned into 'heroin highway, said District Attorney Brown. The heroin peddlers allegedly catered especially to customers from Suffolk County and Nassau County, he continued.
The sad reality is no one is safe from the drug trade, he said.
Officials said that Jermel Broadhurst, 30, from Astoria Queens, is the alleged leader of the heroin ring. He was arrested with a range of drug-related charges including operating as a major drug trafficker. Over the course of the investigation, officers confiscated nearly 8,000 glassine envelopes of heroin, or about five kilograms, 2.7 kilograms of cocaine, five pistols, a shotgun and an assault rifle.
Investigators said that the customers would call Broadhurst, drive into Queens or other parts of the city and meet with dealers at various locations including hotels, restaurants, diners, electronic stores and on occasion, even a 99-cents store. However, police were carefully monitoring the gang with the use of undercover police officers, who arranged a sale of 600 glassine envelopes of heroin.
District Attorney Brown said in the past year, 121 people were arrested for buying drugs from Broadhurst's gang. The NYPD arrested 96 individuals from Suffolk County and 15 from Nassau County. The other individuals who were arrested were from New York.
Inspector Michael Bryan, who supervised the operation, said the gang sold heroin at a discount, when compared to the price of heroin in Long Island.
It's cheaper, he said. That was the draw to come into Queens.
Inspector Bryan said that most individuals would buy a sleeve, 100 glassine envelopes of heroin, for about $400. In Long Island a sleeve could run anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500.
I can't say how they were able to cut the price, said Bryan. He only speculated that group must have had great connections.
Many of those arrested for buying heroin were predominately from the wealthy areas, said Brown.
Most come from good families. Seemingly, having it all, said Bryan. Officials said that many of the drug buyers would mix the heroin with other drugs, mostly prescription drugs, including oxycontin.
Commisioner Ray Kelly commended the officers and D.A Brown's office for their work.
Were it not for the work of NYPD Narcotics detectives and the Queens County District Attorney's Office, these dangerous dealers would still plague Queens streets, said Kelly in a statement.
D.A. Brown also commended the officers involved in the case, but also said that a priority for law enforcement must be preventing the illegal sale of prescription drugs.
We need to do more to curb the sale of prescription drugs, said Brown. We are going to lose a whole generation of kids.