COPIAGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police on Long Island have arrested two accused drug dealers who are blamed for a rash of overdoses.
As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, it is part of an emerging national threat of dealers using fentanyl – which can kill someone who only touches it.
“We are doing everything to make sure the people who are dealing this poison — and it is poison — are kept off the street,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Detectives with the Long Island Heroin Task force say Lilliana M. Vasquez, 27, was selling heroin out of a 2003 Mercedes-Benz along with Randall Robinson, 31. The pair was picked up on the afternoon of Monday, June 5, in the parking lot of the Rite Aid at 901 Merrick Road in Copiague.
Authorities said Vasquez was behind the wheel, and Robinson was in the passenger seat, while Vasquez’s 21-month-old sat in the back.
Robinson was charged with possession and sale of a controlled substance. Vasquez was charged with facilitation, and both suspects face charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported, police say they were responsible for a rash of overdoses.
It’s part of an emerging national threat of drug dealers lacing heroin and pain pills with fentanyl.
Police and prosecutors from the joint Nassau-Suffolk county heroin task force said they’ve made some big arrests of suspects they claim have dealt the deadly fentanyl laced heroin and opioids.
Undercover agents said they bought the drugs from Robinson and Vasquez as they sat in a vehicle in the pharmacy parking lot.
“We recovered 22 grams of fentanyl and 3 grams of heroin laced with fentanyl,” acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said.
Prosecutors said the drugs they intended to distribute across Long Island are the same drugs from three Nassau County overdoses, two weeks ago including one fatal overdose.
No one answered the door at the couple’s home, but shaken neighbors said if the charges are true they should face harsh penalties.
“If you’re dealing drugs and somebody dies that should be a murder or mandatory charge at least,” said neighbor John Riggio said.
It’s a national epidemic. In Georgia, police blamed tainted percocet pills for several fatal overdoses.
Doctors said there is a real threat for first responders who have to revive overdose victims.
“When EMS personnel try to resuscitate those people, just skin contamination can cause illness or even fatal conditions in the emergency response workers,” Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds explained.
Nassau D.A. Singas said she is asking state lawmakers to change the law so that she can charge dealers proven to be responsible for deadly overdoses with manslaughter or murder.
“Our message to dealers is, ‘we’re coming for you,” she said.
On Tuesday, two men in Copiague were also caught in their car near Meucci Ave with a package of heroin that detectives say they intended to sell.
Robert Evanson and Kevin Forrester were charged with sale and possession of a controlled substance.