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Four arrested on drug charges after Hoffman tip

Associated Press

NEW YORK – At least one of four people taken into custody on drug charges during an investigation of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s suspected fatal heroin overdose had the actor’s cellphone number, two law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Investigators zeroed in on the four after a tipster, responding to publicity about Hoffman’s death, told police he had seen Hoffman at the lower Manhattan apartment building where they were arrested on Tuesday and he believed that’s where Hoffman got the heroin, the officials said.

After obtaining search warrants for two apartments in the building, police found about 350 packets of heroin in one of them, the officials said. They also learned from phone records that one of the suspects had Hoffman’s number, strengthening the theory that they may have supplied him with drugs, the officials said.

Some of the packets found in Hoffman’s apartment were variously stamped with the ace of hearts and others with the ace of spades. Those found in the building where the arrests occurred had different brand names, including Black List and Panda, the officials said.

Police were still waiting for a cause of death for the Oscar-winning actor from the medical examiner’s office, which said on Wednesday that more tests were needed.

There was no timetable for Hoffman’s autopsy to be finished, said medical examiner’s office spokeswoman Julie Bolcer, who declined to discuss the pending tests. Toxicology and tissue tests are typically done in such cases.

Hoffman, 46, was found dead Sunday with a needle in his arm, and tests found heroin in samples from at least 50 packets in his apartment in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, law enforcement officials have said.

The four suspects face charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Two also face charges of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.

Courts have found that under state law drug dealers can’t be held liable for customers’ deaths.

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