Suspected Hoffman Heroin Dealers Arrested in NYC

Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Four people have been arrested in association with the death of renowned actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the New York Daily News reports. Acting on an anonymous tip from a person who claimed to know where the heroin that killed Hoffman had originated from, police arrested four suspected heroin dealers from an apartment on Mott Street in lower Manhattan.

Police sources who spoke to the publication said that Thomas Cushman, 48; Robert Vineberg, 57; Juliana Luchkiw, 22; and Max Rosenblum, 22, were all arrested Tuesday night and 350 baggies of heroin were confiscated along with drug paraphernalia. At this time, police aren’t sure whether the people who were arrested sold heroin to Hoffman. Cushman was the only person arrested who didn’t live in the Mott Street building and was only charged with misdemeanor possession. The other three people were arrested on charges of criminal use of paraphernalia and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The 46-year-old Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment with a needle in his arm on Sunday, surrounded by 70 baggies of heroin. Some of the bags of heroin found in his apartment were labeled “Ace of Spades” and “Ace of Hearts.” None of the heroin confiscated from the Mott Street apartment had those names.

More details about Hoffman’s final days are beginning to emerge. Hoffman attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on January 26, just a week before his body was found. Regular attendees of the group told the Daily News that Hoffman had gone to the meetings held near his apartment in the West Village on a regular basis for about 25 years while he was sober before relapsing last year. After starting to use again, Hoffman’s partner and mother of his three children, Mimi O’Donnell, kicked him out of the residence they shared.

Hoffman attended rehab early last year, but Page Six reports that after his 10-day stint at a facility, he was spotted looking drunk and disheveled in New York and Atlanta, where he was filming the next installment in the Hunger Games franchise.

A New York Times report released earlier this week said that Hoffman’s death points to an increasing trade in cheap heroin that has been growing in the city over the past several years. The baggies of heroin found in Hoffman’s apartment are sold for about $6 on the street, police said. According to statistics from the Health Department cited by the New York Times, heroin-related deaths in the city rose 84 percent between 2010 and 2012 after years of declines.

Stamping baggies of heroin with names like “Ace of Spades” is an effort on the part of dealers and drug rings to better market their product in a city that is flooded with cheap heroin. Several recent studies have found that heroin use is on the rise in white-collar communities as a cheaper alternative for people already addicted to pain pills.

For now, it’s uncertain whether the four suspects that were arrested on Tuesday evening were the dealers who supplied Hoffman with the heroin that killed him. More testing still needs to be done on the drugs found in Hoffman’s apartment, and black market drugs like heroin can be difficult to trace even with trade mark names. A private funeral for the actor will take place on Friday.

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