Philip Seymour Hoffman Repeatedly Bought Heroin at Raided Building: Sources
NOHO — Police arrested four suspected drug dealers and seized hundreds of bags of heroin, along with cocaine and pills, inside a NoHo apartment building Tuesday after a tipster said actor Philip Seymour Hoffman went there to buy drugs numerous times before his death, sources said.
Police carrying shields broke down apartment doors and arrested three men and a woman during a Tuesday evening raid inside 302 Mott St., near East Houston Street, sources said. They found 350 glassine bags containing a substance that appeared to be heroin, along with three small baggies of cocaine and eight pills, according to sources.
Police learned of the address after being approached earlier this week by a confidential informant who said the gifted actor had purchased drugs at the building numerous times in the past, sources said.
The next day, undercover narcotics officers went to the address and arrested a man on the street outside, just moments after he bought drugs from the Mott Street building, sources said. The following day, police got a warrant for the building, and carried out the raid, sources said.
Investigators had been searching for the supplier of the "Ace of Spades" branded heroin that was found with Hoffman when he died, but there were no such bags found in the apartments, sources said. Instead, they found bags stamped "Red Bull," "Black List," and "Panda," sources said.
Robert Vineberg, 57, and 48-year-old Thomas Cushman were arrested on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said. Vineberg, who has no criminal record, was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, police and sources said. Vineberg owns two apartments in the building, and was using one of them to stash his drugs, where police found 250 glassine bags of heroin, sources said.
Roommates Max Rosenblum and New School undergraduate Juliana Luchkiw, both 22, were arrested on charges of criminal use of drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana, police said. Luchkiw has no criminal history, while Rosenblum has been arrested previously for marijuana and drug possession, sources said.
Investigators also took computers out of the building, witnesses said.
Hoffman's body was found in his Bethune Street apartment Sunday morning by his personal assistant as well as one of his friends who was concerned because he failed to pick up his kids that morning.
His death prompted an outpouring of grief and high-profile investigation to find the actor's supplier. Days later, a man walked into a police stationhouse and said that he personally knew that Hoffman had visited the Mott Street building to buy drugs, sources said.
Acting on the tip a day afterward, undercover officers arrested a man who had just bought drugs from the Mott Street building moments before, giving them the authority to get a warrant and raid the building, sources said.
Police believe the respected actor, who was found with a needle in his arm and 49 bags of heroin and other prescription drugs around his apartment, may have died of an overdose, but the city's medical examiner has yet to release an official cause of death.