Nassau County announces largest fentanyl bust in county history

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- Nassau County officials on Wednesday announced the largest bust of fentanyl in the county's history, saying 150,000 potentially fatal overdoses of the drug are now off the streets.

But the person authorities think is behind the ring is already in prison for another crime, allegedly running the operation behind prison walls in Boston.

Officials said 400 grams of nearly pure fentanyl was seized and, for perspective, that it can take as little as two milligrams to kill a person.

"When you talk about 150,000 people could overdose from this fentanyl, that's like a weapon of mass destruction," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

Investigators say some of the eight people who were indicted were likely planning to cut, then re-cut the fentanyl to make potent heroin.

"I guarantee you that if these 400 grams hit the streets, we would've had fatal and near fatal overdoses, guaranteed," Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

The alleged ringleader is Ricky Jackson, already in a federal lockup in Massachusetts. But investigators say he was using prison phones to conduct his business.

In an unrelated but parallel investigation with the FBI and ATF, at least eight guns also meant for the streets of Hempstead were seized, with three others indicted in that case.

And so, in a community where residents are often too scared to speak of the violence and drugs, officials say the message is that police aren't giving up.

"The people of Terrace Avenue actually sent us a letter, signed by over 500 people, thanking us, for coming into the community and helping them," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

The suspects were identified as:

--Darren Devane, aka Buck, 33, of Hempstead was arraigned October 25 before Judge Tammy Robbins and charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony), three counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree (an A-II felony), nine counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony), Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and three counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). Bail was set at $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash and the defendant is due back in court November 1. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of 12 years to 24 years in prison.

--Michael Drew, 39, of Hempstead, was arraigned October 31 before Judge Terence Murphy and charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and three counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). Bail was set at $10,000 bond or $5,000 cash and the defendant is due back in court November 21. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of 8-1/3years to 25 years in prison.

--Trevor Ford, 28, of Hempstead, was arraigned October 28 before Judge Howard Sturim and charged with Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and three counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). The defendant was remanded and is due back in court November 6. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of 12-1/2 years to 25 years in prison.

--Ricky Jackson, 41, of Hempstead, was arraigned November 4 before Judge Terence Murphy and charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker (an A-I felony), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony), Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). The defendant was remanded is due back in court December 9. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.

--Jamel Lewis, 39, of Hempstead, was arraigned on November 4 before Judge Terence Murphy and charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and three counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). He was remanded and is due back in court on November 25. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of 12 years to 24 years in prison. Additionally, this defendant was arraigned on October 29 before Judge Massell on one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony). Bail was set at $600,000 bond or $300,000 cash, and the defendant is due back in court on November 16. If convicted of this count, the defendant faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

--Shariah Usher, 28, of Hempstead, was arraigned on October 25 before Judge Tammy Robbins on charges of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony), two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). The defendant was conditionally released to probation and is due back in court November 1. If convicted of the top count, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

--Angelique White, 40, of Hempstead was arraigned on October 30 before Judge Terence Murphy on charges of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (an A-I felony), two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (a B felony), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (a B felony) and two counts of Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (an E felony). Bail was set at $40,000 bond or $20,000 cash and she is due back in court December 5. If convicted of the top count, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

--Joseph Robertson, 36, of Brooklyn was arraigned on November 1 before Judge Meryl Berkowitz on charges of two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C felony), four counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm (a D felony) and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Firearm (an E felony). Bail was set at $5,000 cash or bond and the defendant is due back in court December 5. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

--Victor Cain, 30, of Brooklyn was arraigned October 30 before Judge Meryl Berkowitz on charges of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C felony), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (a D felony), two counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm (a D felony) and Criminal Possession of a Firearm (an E felony). Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash and the defendant is due back in court December 5. If convicted of the top count, he faces a maximum of seven years to 15 years in prison.

Two defendants remain outstanding.

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