May 7, 2018 By Tara Law
An Astoria man who sold opiates to two people who overdosed and nearly died has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Bernard Lewis, 46, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to the criminal sale of a controlled substance in April, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Lewis sold drugs despite knowing that they were laced with Fentanyl, a deadly opiate which can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, the Queens District Attorney said.
The Queens Narcotics Bureau zeroed in on Lewis after he was linked to two near-fatal overdoses. Police used court-authorized wiretaps as part of the investigation.
Investigators listened in as six people called Lewis between April 6, 2017 and June 17, 2017 to ask to buy drugs. Lewis would find out about the quantity of drugs the individuals wanted to buy, and then he or one of his associates would sell the drugs for cash.
Each of these buyers was arrested, the Queens District Attorney said. The drugs were seized and chemically tested in a lab, where investigators determined that they contained Fentanyl.
A Rikers Island inmate called Lewis on a Department of Corrections phone on May 11, 2017. The inmate told Lewis that he had been hit with a very high bail because the drugs he had been caught with contained Fentanyl— a drug, the inmate warned “was killing people,” the district attorney’s office said.
Investigators raided Lewis’s home on July 19, 2017 and discovered a large rock of Fentanyl, a box containing glassine envelopes used to package drugs, drug paraphernalia, and $2,900 cash.
The investigation of Lewis was part of a long-term crackdown on drug sales in Jackson Heights and Astoria, the district attorney’s office said.
Drug overdoses have spiked in Queens and across the country, partly because drugs are increasingly laced cut with Fentanyl, authorities say.