Sept. 8, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A Flushing teenager has been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons in his home and for selling fentanyl to undercover cops during a sting operation.
Justin Echeverry, 19, was indicted by a Queens grand jury and arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Wednesday on drug and weapons charges—as well as a slew of other crimes—after cops raided his Flushing home last week, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
The bust comes at a time when fatal drug overdoses in the borough continue to climb.
According to the charges, police found an arsenal of weapons at Echeverry’s College Point Boulevard home during a Aug. 31 raid that included two 9 mm semi-automatic ghost guns, a .22 caliber revolver and a PA-15 assault weapon. Police also recovered ammunition and $12,260 in cash.
The raid was prompted by a police and Queens DA drug operation conducted this year, where Echeverry sold hundreds of pills laced with fentanyl to an undercover detective. There were 11 transactions between Jan. 11 and June 6.
Echeverry, according to the charges, sold 99 Percocet and 1,010 Oxycodone pills in total to the undercover detective in cash deals that took place in Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, and Downtown Flushing, prosecutors said.
Lab testing determined that each of those pills contained fentanyl—a synthetic opioid which is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and highly addictive, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
In his final deal before the bust, Echeverry sold a loaded .22 caliber Smith and Wesson firearm to the undercover cop.
“My Office will not stand for those who sell poison and weapons of death in our communities,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
“As alleged, this defendant flooded our streets with deadly fentanyl … at a time when Queens County continues to struggle with an alarming increase in fatal overdoses.”
Katz said that there have been 206 suspected fatal overdoses in the borough this year—a 51 percent increase compared to the same period last year—with 77 percent of those deaths attributed to fentanyl.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said that the NYPD will never relent in its public-safety mission of eradicating illegal guns and drugs from city streets.
“This intelligence-driven investigation—carried out with our partners in the Queens District Attorney’s office—reflects our unwavering vigilance in protecting the people we serve – no matter the threat,” Sewell said.
In total, Echeverry was hit with 10 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance as well as two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal sale of a firearm and unlawful possession of pistol ammunition.
Echeverry was ordered back to court on Oct. 12. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.