As fans mourn the loss of famed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and emotions heighten to get answers as to how and why this dark tragedy occurred, the police were hot on the investigative trail of the alleged neighborhood drug dealers who may have contributed to the heroin overdose leaving Hoffman lying dead with a syringe hanging from his arm this past Sunday. According to Fox News, NYPD were given an inside tip leading them to 302 Mott Street in Manhattan’s West Village. The police raided three apartments arresting Robert Vineberg, 57, Max Rosenblum, 22, Juliana Luchkiw, 22, and Thomas Kushman, 48, Wednesday evening. Thomas Kushman was not brought up on charges due to a lack of evidence. However, Vineberg, Rosenblum, and Luchkiw were charged with felony possession with intent to sell.
Police reported in the New York Post Hoffman’s number had been found in three of the suspects’ cell phones and his name written down in the apartment. The inside tip came from a heroin addict who NYPD considered to be a credible witness because he had Hoffman’s number in his cell and they were both present in the apartment on Mott allegedly buying heroin from Vineberg. It is also suspected that Vineberg, a musician and possible drug pusher to the stars, also supplied the late, great Amy Winehouse. Though Amy Winehouse had publicly battled a drug addiction for many years, the cause of death was ruled alcohol poisoning. Heroin use has been on the rise for the past several years. Investigators are concerned about the purity of the new batch out on the streets as the heroin overdoses steadily increase in middle-class America. The public does not get to see the thousands of heroin overdose victims on the cover of magazines or mentioned on the news, but Hoffman’s highly publicized death may have possibly brought awareness of this rising epidemic.
Though three suspects have been charged with possession and intent to sell, and a customer has identified Zineberg as the pusher who allegedly supplied Philip Seymour Hoffman with heroin, by New York law Zineberg can not be charged with manslaughter. It cannot be proven that a dealer’s drugs is what caused a customer to overdose. This is disheartening to the family members of drug addicts. If a customer was rushed to the hospital for food poisoning and the hospital was able to detect what food caused the violent illness, the customer would have a right to sue that restaurant. However, in New York a customer of a drug dealer supplying heroin is not at all responsible if that customer dies from a heroin overdose. The justice systems protect everyone’s rights.
The three drug dealers who allegedly sold Hoffman heroin, may possibly serve time for pushing drugs and be released. Tallulah, Cooper, and Willa, however, no longer have a Father. Defense attorneys for drug dealers might say the customer had a choice and everyone knows that heroin can possibly lead to death. Defense will conclude that their client(s) is innocent. The only answer is to stop the heroin from coming in. Easier said than done. But until then the battle between good and evil continues. And evil is winning.
Editorial by Meleika Gardner