A Great Neck resident has been indicted by a Queens County grand jury on manslaughter charges and other crimes for allegedly distributing illegal drugs which resulted in overdose deaths of two people, according to a release issued by the Queens County District Attorney’s office on Thursday.
Justin Lum, 30, of Forest Row in Great Neck was charged with distributing cocaine, alprazolam (or Xanax), heroin, and in one case, fentanyl, to a man and woman, in the spring of 2017 and 2018, respectively.
He is the first alleged drug dealer to be charged in Queens County with a homicide related to overdose deaths.
“Heroin, unfortunately, has made a deadly comeback in Queens County and throughout New York City, and our nation as a whole,” said Queens Acting District Attorney John M. Ryan. “The dealers who profit from distributing these drugs bear responsibility when their clients die., This defendant thought he was safe from prosecution. He was dead wrong.”
Lum was arraigned on a 15-count indictment that featured three counts of second-degree manslaughter and multiple counts of third and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, according to the release. If convicted, he could face anywhere from 26 to 126 years in prison, according to Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder.
According to charges, Lum supplied heroin to his girlfriend, Patricia Collado, 28, of Brooklyn in April 2017. After allegedly snorting lines of heroin from a cell phone at the movies, Collado passed out in a parked vehicle, where first responders transported her to a nearby hospital for further treatment, Queens prosecutors said.
The next day, after being discharged from the hospital, Collado and Lum allegedly snorted more heroin at his grandfather’s home in Flushing, which resulted in Collado immediately going into cardiac arrest.
Lum did not call for medical assistance but attempted to “stabilize her,” according to the District Attorney’s Office.
After foaming at the mouth for an hour, Lum awoke the next morning, to find his girlfriend bubbling out the mouth, and called 911, and administered CPR per the medical dispatcher’s instructions, officials said.
“Overdose deaths have far outpaced homicides in the last few years,” Ryan said. “These are individuals who have become addicted to opioids and when heroin is laced with fentanyl there is an added risk since the synthetic opioid can be more than 50 times more potent than heroin.”
According to the indictment, less than a year later in March of 2018, Lum allegedly supplied heroin to Bayside resident Calvin Brown.
After consuming drugs that were allegedly provided by Lum, the 24-year-old Brown immediately had a medical emergency. Lum called 911 and administered CPR until first responders arrived and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, officials said.
After being discharged almost a week later, Brown returned to Lum’s home, allegedly receiving more heroin, just three days after he was released from the hospital, according to the release.
The next day, Brown’s mother found her son slumped on a desk in his bedroom, dead. An autopsy later revealed that the cause of death as a result of the combined efforts of heroin, Xanax, diazepam, and phenobarbital.
According to the release, an investigation was started after Collado overdosed during which an unnamed source recorded conversations between Lum and another individual .
On April 9, 2018, Lum was overheard telling the person whose conversation was recorded while conducting a drug sale, “You’d be technically my third body. I woke up next to my girlfriend, like OD’d,” according to the press release.
Lum allegedly told the individual he was safe due to the “Good Samaritan law. I can’t get in trouble.”
Ryan thanked Nassau County District Attorney, Madeline Singas, and her office, for their help in the long-term investigation.
Lum is next expected in court on Dec. 11, on the order of Holder.