2 arrested in synthetic drug bust in Queens luxury high-rise

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- A New York man and a New Jersey woman are accused of producing and distributing dangerous designer drugs, including a synthetic opioid that authorities say is several times more potent than morphine.

Federal prosecutors say 34-year-old Brian Parker, of Long Island City, and 29-year-old Victoria Koleski, of Farmingdale, New Jersey, are charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances, as well as distributing and possessing with intent to distribute.

DEA agents and New York State Police entered the luxury building on Center Boulevard in Long Island City just after 6 a.m. The building is located next to Gantry Plaza State Park, which runs along the East River.

Parker allegedly made and distributed the drugs through two online companies he controlled. The substances he allegedly sold were linked to a May 2016 overdose death in Madison, Wisconsin.

After the 37-year-old man died, authorities say law enforcement officers recovered several mail parcels that were addressed to the victim, one or more of which contained full glass vials labeled "U-47700," as well as multiple invoices indicating the victim had been ordering U-47700 and other substances from a website run by Parker.

Authorities say Koleski was among those who helped Parker distribute the drugs, and that during one week this summer, the suspects mailed out 218 packages to their customers.

PHOTOS: Scene of drug bust at LIC apartment building

Agents spent hours confiscating and cataloging evidence, while hazardous materials teams accompanied the investigators into the building out of an abundance of caution. The drug manufacturing investigation was reportedly confined to one apartment inside the building, and officials said it posed no threat to the general public.

One contractor working inside the said people there had no idea.

"That was my first thought was, oh, this doesn't fit the stereotype of where a drug lab would be," Steve Derrickson said. "If I lived there, that would have been my concern, explosion, fire, something like that."

Each charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
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