UPDATED 02/05/14 12:29 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NYPD has arrested four people on drug charges, and police were questioning them late Tuesday in connection to drug sales to actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Sources told CBS 2 the arrests happened at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a building on Mott Street in NoHo. All four unnamed suspects were charged with possession of narcotics.
They were being questioned at an unspecified police precinct for the sale of heroin, sources said.
Police searched three apartments at the Mott Street building. They arrested two men in one apartment where they found 50 bags of heroin, and arrested a man and woman in another where an unspecified number of bags of heroin were found, sources said.
In a third apartment in the building, police found 300 bags of heroin.
None of the bags of heroin police recovered had the “Ace of Spades” branding that was seen with the heroin found with Hoffman’s body.
It remained unknown late Tuesday whether the suspects were actually believed to be Hoffman’s drug dealers.
Meanwhile, a police official said Tuesday that heroin recovered at the Oscar-winning actor’s apartment after he was found there dead with a syringe in his arm has tested negative for the powerful additive fentanyl.
Samples taken from Hoffman’s West Village apartment didn’t contain the potent synthetic morphine, which is added to intensify the high and has been linked to 22 suspected overdose deaths in western Pennsylvania, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to talk about the evidence and insisted on anonymity.
Tests have confirmed there was heroin in at least some of the 70 glassine bags found in Hoffman’s home, a law enforcement officials told WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell.
The envelopes were stamped “Ace of Spades” and “Ace of Hearts,” both brands that are known to sometimes be mixed with fentanyl.
New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said heroin deaths are on the rise in the five boroughs and that users often don’t know what exactly is mixed in the drugs they are buying.
“In New York City, the health department reported that the deaths due to heroin overdoses was up about 71 percent, according to the last statistics I had seen,” New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
Stamps are common as a form of drug-world branding, and authorities make note of the ones they encounter, though they’re hardly trademarks — different producers might use the same symbol. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the “Ace of Hearts” and “Ace of Spades” stamps could lead investigators to any clues about the source of the items found in Hoffman’s apartment.
Sources told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa that in addition to the heroin, investigators also found what’s believed to be cocaine and methamphetamines in Hoffman’s home. The “Capote” star also had other medications in the apartment, including medicine for blood pressure.
An autopsy began Monday, but no released have been released.
His Final Moments
A few details have begun to sketch a picture of his final day and the circumstances in which he was found in his apartment in Greenwich Village on Sunday.
Investigators have determined that Hoffman made six ATM transactions for a total of $1,200 inside a supermarket near his home the day before his death, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
A friend had spoken to Hoffman by phone around 9 p.m. Saturday, in the last contact investigators are aware of anyone having with him, a law enforcement official said. The official said the actor’s door was double-locked when his body was found around 11:30 a.m. the next day by the friend and Hoffman’s assistant.
In the apartment were at least four dozen small packets, two law enforcement officials said Monday. Authorities also found unused syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a blood-pressure drug and a muscle relaxant, one of the officials said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about the evidence gathered.
‘An Exceptional Talent’
The stage-trained Hoffman received four Academy Awards nominations, including a Best Actor win for 2005’s “Capote,” and three Tony nominations.
The marquees of Broadway theaters will dim their lights for one minute at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Broadway League announced.
In one of his earliest movie roles, Hoffman played a spoiled prep school student in “Scent of a Woman” in 1992.
A breakthrough came for him as a gay member of a porno film crew in “Boogie Nights,” one of several movies directed by Paul Thomas Anderson that Hoffman would eventually appear in.
He played comic, off-kilter characters in “Along Came Polly” and “The Big Lebowski.” He bantered unforgettably with Laura Linney as squabbling siblings in “The Savages.” He was grumpy and idealistic as rock critic Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous.” He was grumpy and cynical as baseball manager Art Howe in “Moneyball.”
Many younger moviegoers know him as the scheming Plutarch Heavensbee in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and he was reprising that role in the two-part sequel, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” for which his work was mostly completed.
“Words cannot convey the devastating loss we are all feeling right now. Philip was a wonderful person and an exceptional talent, and our hearts are breaking,” the producers, writer, director, cast and crew of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1 and Part 2,” in a statement.
The films are scheduled for November 2014 and November 2015 releases.
Hoffman was equally acclaimed and productive, often appearing in at least two to three films a year, while managing an active life in the theater. He had been thriving for more than 20 year,s and no one doubted that a long, compelling run awaited him.
Hoffman was born and raised in upstate Fairport, about 11 miles southeast of Rochester, and graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Battle With Addiction
Hoffman spoke candidly over the years about past struggles with drug addiction.
In 2006, Hoffman told Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” that he fought substance abuse for years.
He said he had abused drugs, alcohol and “anything I could get my hands on. … I liked it all.”
When asked why he stopped, he said: “You get panicked. You get panicked. I was 22, and I got panicked for my life.”
But after 23 years sober, he admitted in interviews last year to falling off the wagon and developing a heroin problem that led to a stint in rehab.
Hoffman is survived by his partner of 15 years, Mimi O’Donnell, and their three children.
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