By Jonathan Sperling
A Long Island man who allegedly distributed heroin and other narcotics in Queens is the first drug dealer in Queens charged with a homicide for overdose-related deaths, prosecutors say.
Justin Lum, 30, allegedly supplied heroin that eventually led to the death of his 28-year-old girlfriend, Patricia Collado, as well as his 24-year-old friend, Calvin Brown. Before being arrested, Lum allegedly told an acquaintance that he could not be prosecuted because of the “Good Samaritan law. I can’t get in trouble.”
“Even though fatal overdoses have been on the decline in Queens County this past year, every loss of life causes undue pain and heartache particularly when the death could have been prevented,” Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said in a statement.
Lum was arraigned before Justice Kenneth Holder and charged with 3 counts of second-degree manslaughter and multiple counts of third- and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Holder remanded Lum and ordered him to return to Court on Dec. 11, 2019. If convicted, he faces between 26 to 126 years in prison.
The deadly overdoses began in April 2017, when Lum allegedly gave Collado, his girlfriend, heroin while the two were at a movie theater in College Point. The two got high snorting heroin off of a cell phone, then left the theater and used more heroin inside of a car. Collado quickly passed out, so Lum pulled over at 56th Avenue and Main Street where first responders gave her Naloxone and rushed her to the hospital.
After Collado was discharged from the hospital, she and Lum went to the defendant’s grandfather’s house in Flushing, where they snorted more heroin. Collado went into cardiac arrest, but instead of calling 911, Lum attempted to “stabilize her” and stated in sum and substance that he “didn’t want to call the ambulance again.” As Collado foamed at the mouth, Lum allegedly consumed more drugs before going to sleep. Lum awoke shortly before 8 a.m. to find Collado beside him unconscious and foaming at the mouth. By the time emergency medical technicians arrived Collado was dead.
An autopsy performed on her remains concluded she died from acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.
In March 2018, less than a year after Collado’s death, Lum allegedly supplied heroin to Brown, his friend, who lived in Bayside. Brown consumed the drugs at Lum’s house and immediately had a medical emergency. Lum called 911 and gave Brown CPR until first responders arrived.
Brown survived the near-fatal overdose, but after he was discharged he returned to Lum’s home and allegedly got more heroin from the defendant, who stated in sum and substance that the victim needed it so much that he gave it to him to get him to go home.
The next day, Brown was found dead by his mother in their Queens’ home. He was in his bedroom, seated in a chair with his head slumped onto a desk.
An autopsy performed on the victim’s body showed the cause of death was acute intoxication from the combined effects of heroin, alprazolam, diazepam and phenobarbital.
“Heroin, unfortunately, has made a deadly comeback in Queens Countyand throughout New York City and our nation as a whole,” Acting DA Ryan added. “Overdose deaths have far outpaced homicides in the last few years … The dealers who profit from distributing these drugs bear responsibility when their clients die. This defendant thought he was safe from prosecution. He was dead wrong.”