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Former NYPD Officer Arrested For Role In ‘Southern Comfort’ Heroin Ring

REUTERS/Bor Slana

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Police arrested a former NYPD officer for his role in a major heroin distribution operation that trafficked narcotics from New Jersey to Staten Island.

The leader of the operation, 45-year-old Anthony Olsovi, allegedly sold 3,200 glassine containers of heroin to undercover officers with the NYPD over the course of a 10-month investigation. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Southern Comfort,” culminated in the arrest of Olsovi and five others, including 28-year-old Steven Lanigan, who allegedly served with the NYPD for an unknown period before leaving the force, according to New York Daily News.

Lanigan’s father, Gary Lanigan, is the commissioner of the New Jersey Correction Department. Authorities charged all six individuals this week in a 29-count indictment for their role in the operation. The street value of the heroin seized over the investigation is estimated at $20,000.

“This investigation resulted in a large amount of heroin being taken off the street — and at a time when too many lives have already been lost to the disease of addiction illness, it is vital to our mission that we do all we can to keep dealers from preying on the vulnerable,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said Tuesday, according to New York Daily News.

Law enforcement is making progress in its fight against major drug traffickers in the region. Police busted a massive drug operation in February that also distributed heroin cut with fentanyl in Staten Island, causing the overdose death of a pregnant woman. Amanda Dimarinis, one of those arrested in the bust, was a teacher at local middle school I.S. 49 and allegedly sold heroin cut with fentanyl on the property during her lunch breaks.

A joint investigation between the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency over eight months culminated in a massive drug bust Jan. 31. Police arrested 32 people involved in an international heroin distribution ring, seizing more than 100 pounds of opioids worth roughly $22 million.

New York experienced a 135.7 percent increase in synthetic opioid and heroin deaths between 2014 and 2015, one of the largest increases for a state.

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