Williamsburg heroin and fentanyl dealers busted
Escalating overdose deaths in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn sparked a police investigation that indicted four street-level dealers found to be selling heroin and fentanyl to community members, including the local Hispanic and hipster populations, officials said.
As the nation is grappled with the opioid epidemic, Williamsburg has become a hot spot for fentanyl, a potent opioid often responsible for fatal overdoses. In following the trend, the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office brought down the indictment that charges the alleged dealers with trafficking between October 2017 and January 2018.
Victor Rovira allegedly made three sales to an undercover officer, stamping the drugs with the brand names Dream Chasers, Time Out and Pacman, a stamp associated with a fatal overdose in the area. In those deals, Rovira is accused of selling 800 glassines of a heroin and fentanyl mixture for $4,850 in front of 327 Grand St., two blocks from the popular music venue, the Knitting Factory.
Devirael Deleon and Edward Estrada served as Rovira’s suppliers while Michael Raftu worked as a lookout. Together they made three more sales to undercover officers.
New York City had a projected total of more than 1,400 fatal overdoses in 2017, a number that significantly overshadows the reported 292 murders during the same time. In Brooklyn, there were 260 overdose deaths from January to September 2017, according to testimony placed before the City Council.
And Williamsburg has become a hot spot arrest location from 2016 to 2017 for fentanyl alongside numerous neighborhoods throughout the borough.
To combat the epidemic, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a program named Brooklyn CLEAR last week. The project gives willing persons arrested for misdemeanor drug possession in southern Brooklyn the ability to go into treatment immediately and bypass court. The office hopes to eventually expand the program to the entire borough.
All four defendants in this case pleaded not guilty at their arraignments at New York County Supreme Court, according to court documents. Michael Raftu was the only one released on bail and Rovira faces the most jail time with a potential minimum sentence of 12 years in prison.
They are scheduled back in court on May 24.