NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The four suspects arrested on drug allegations stemming from the investigation into Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death appeared in night court on Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, the NYPD arrested four people and was questioning them in connection to drug sales to Hoffman. As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Wednesday, police were acting on a tip that Hoffman had visited the location to buy drugs.
At least one person among the woman and three men were arrested at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a building on Mott Street in NoHo and had the actor’s cell phone number, a source said.
Three suspects – Robert Vineberg, 57; Juliana Luchkiw, 22; and Max Rosenblum, 22 – were arraigned Wednesday night. Prosecutors did not file charges against the fourth person.
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.
Police found Hoffman’s cell phone after reviewing the phone records of the suspects as part of its investigation into whether the suspects may have supplied Hoffman with drugs, the source said.
Police Wednesday night also analyzed heroin confiscated under a search warrant from the suspects’ apartments to determine whether there is a match or similarity to the heroin found at Hoffman apartment.
The manager at the Mott Street building told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria he suspected nothing. “The tenants have lived here for a number of years. … No problems.”
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.
Attorneys for the three suspects claimed that their clients had nothing to do with the actor’s death, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported.
Vineberg faces the most serious charge of felony drug possession with the intent to sell. He pointed at cameras and held his hands up in front of his face.
“I’m hoping he will not become a scapegoat for Mr. Hoffman’s unfortunate death,” attorney Edward Kratt said.
Vineberg’s attorney said that his client never sold drugs.
“He’s a 57-year-old gentleman and accomplished musician with no prior criminal record,” Kratt said.
Luchkiw and Rosenblum both face misdemeanor drug possession charges. their attorneys have both denied any involvement in drug dealing on the part of their clients.
“She is not a drug dealer. She’s a college student. She’s absolutely stunned and shocked,” Luchkiw’s lawyer Steve Turano said.
Rosenblum’s attorney called his client a victim of circumstance.
“He walked into a buzz saw and happened to be in an apartment next to a place, apparently, where Mr. Hoffman was known to get drugs but he had nothing to do with it,” Daniel Hochheiser claimed.
The three were still being held in jail on Wednesday night. Attorneys for Luchkiw and Rosenblum said that they will be fighting for release on Thursday.
Meanwhile, an autopsy of the Oscar-winning actor was ruled inconclusive Wednesday, and more tests will be needed to determine what caused his death.
New York City Medical Examiner’s office spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said there was no timetable for Hoffman’s autopsy to be completed. She declined to discuss the pending tests, but toxicology and tissue tests are typically done in such cases.
While awaiting the official findings on the cause and manner of the “Capote” star’s death, police have been investigating it as a suspected drug overdose.