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Queens Chronicle

Great Neck, LI man charged over Queens heroin deaths

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Posted: Friday, October 4, 2019 2:22 pm | Updated: 12:17 pm, Thu Oct 10, 2019.

A Great Neck, LI man faces manslaughter charges in Queens for allegedly distributing the drugs used in the overdose deaths of his girlfriend in 2017 and a Bayside man in 2018. 

He’s the first alleged drug dealer to be charged with a homicide over overdose deaths in Queens.

Acting District Attorney John Ryan announced last Thursday Justin Lum, 30, of Forest Row, was indicted by a grand jury and could be sentenced to up to 126 years in prison if convicted. He was arraigned in a 15-count indictment charging him with three counts of second-degree manslaughter and multiple counts of third- and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

He allegedly gave heroin to his girlfriend, 28-year-old Brooklyn resident Patricia Collado, at the College Point Multiplex on April 27, 2017. 

They watched a movie and got high snorting lines on a cell phone, prosecutors say.

After the flick finished, they allegedly left the area and used Lum’s heroin again in a parked car. 

Collado suddenly stopped talking and passed out. 

According to the complaint, Lum pulled her out of the car right by NewYork-Presbyterian Queens hospital at 56th Avenue and Main Street in Flushing, where emergency responders administered Naloxone and had her hospitalized. 

Lum stayed at his girlfriend’s beside in the hospital, which she was discharged from around 11 p.m. They went to his grandfather’s home on Colden Street in Flushing and snorted more heroin, prosecutors said. 

She went into cardiac arrest again.

Lum didn’t call 911, though. The Great Neck man tried by himself to “stabilize her” and “didn’t want to call the ambulance again,” according to the charges.

She foamed at the mouth for an hour.

But he just took more drugs and went to sleep, prosecutors said.

The next morning, a little after 8 a.m., he woke up and found her unconscious. Foam bubbled from her mouth. 

Finally, Lum called 911. He administered CPR, taking instructions from the medical dispatcher over the phone. 

Collado was dead by the time paramedics arrived, though. An autopsy revealed that she died from acute intoxication from the combined effects of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.

 The case against Lum is also based on an overdose death about a year later. 

Prosecutors say he provided heroin to Bayside resident Calvin Brown, 24. On March 1, 2018, Brown took drugs at Lum’s house on Forest Row and overdosed immediately. The alleged dealer called 911 and gave the Bayside man CPR until first responders arrived.  They took him to a nearby hospital and he survived.

Discharged on March 6, Brown went back to Lum’s house to score three days later. The defendant gave it to him, explaining to law enforcement that the Bayside man needed heroin so much that he gave it to him to get him to leave his house.

Brown’s mother found him dead the next day in his bedroom. Sitting in a chair, his body was slumped onto a desk. An autopsy found that he died from a mix of heroin, Xanax, diazepam and phenobartital.

Law enforcement launched its investigation after the death of Lum’s girlfriend.

In a recorded conversation from April 9, 2018, investigators heard the defendant  allegedly discuss Collado and Brown. He was talking to someone he was selling drugs, to, according to the charges.

“You’d be technically my third body. I woke up next to my ex-girlfriend, like OD’d,” the recording said. “The thing is, I saved her the night before.”

Continuing, Lum allegedly mentioned “this other kid I saved too. Just like 3 weeks ago...He just sniffed a line and then passed out. I did the chest compressions.”

The defendant also allegedly said that he was safe from prosecution because of the “Good Samaritan law. I can’t get in trouble.” 

Ryan, the acting district attorney, took a shot at that idea in a statement issued by his office.

“The dealers who profit from distributing these drugs bear responsibility when their clients die,” he said. “This defendant thought he was safe from prosecution. He was dead wrong.”

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