4 arrested in connection with drugs in Hoffman's apartment

MGN Online
Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 10:33am

Four people believed to be connected to the drugs found in Philip Seymour Hoffman's apartment were arrested late Tuesday night, law enforcement officials told CNN.

During the raid that led to the arrest of the three men and one woman, police recovered 350 small plastic bags of what is believed to be heroin, the officials said. The bags of alleged heroin were branded "black list" and "red bull" -- not the same brands found in Hoffman's apartment, the sources said.

Apartments at 302 Mott Street in Manhattan, where the four were arrested, are part of the investigation into Hoffman's death, according to a police source.

The source identified the suspects being investigated in connection with drugs sold to Hoffman as Juliana Luchkiw, 22; Max Rosenblum, 22; Robert Vineberg, 57; and Thomas Cushman, 48.

Luchkiw and Rosenblum were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, misdemeanors, while Vineberg was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a felony.

Through their attorneys, all three entered pleas of not guilty Wednesday.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute Cushman because there was no evidence he had any control over the drugs.

Vineberg was found to have the actor's phone number stored in his cell phone, a law enforcement official told CNN. Police discovered the largest amount of what is believed to be heroin in his apartment, the source said.

Vineberg was described by a former neighbor as a talented musician who used the stage name Robert Aaron and once toured with Wyclef Jean. Vineberg had a wife and daughter, said the neighbor, who lived in the building a number of years ago.

"He used to practice at night," said the former neighbor, recounting that Vineberg played keyboards. "Honestly, he seemed like a nice guy, always playing music. Nothing sinister."

Vineberg's attorney, Edward Kratt, said that he hopes prosecutors will not use his client as a scapegoat.

"These charges have absolutely nothing to do with Philip Seymour Hoffman's unfortunate death," Kratt said.

Luchkiw's attorney, Stephan Turano, similarly said she had no connection to Hoffman, other than seeing his movies, and that Luchkiw was simply in the "wrong place at (the) wrong time."

A spokeswoman for the New York medical examiner's office said Wednesday that a determination of the cause and manner of Hoffman's death is pending further study, including toxicology reports.

When police were called to Hoffman's fourth-floor Manhattan apartment Sunday, they found the actor lying on the bathroom floor with a syringe in his left arm. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, his eyeglasses still resting on his head, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the inquiry.

Investigators discovered close to 50 envelopes of what they believed was heroin in the apartment, the law enforcement sources said. They also found used syringes, prescription drugs and empty plastic bags of a type commonly used to hold drugs, the sources said.

Also found in Hoffman's apartment was his personal journal, resting on a living room TV stand, two law enforcement sources said.

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