Three of the four people arrested in connection with an investigation into the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman were formally charged with drug offenses in Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday night.
Robert Vineberg, a 57-year-old musician, was arraigned on felony drug possession with intent to sell charges, while Max Rosenblum, a 22-year-old club kid and DJ, and Juliana Luchkiw, his 22-year-old student girlfriend, were charged with misdemeanor drug possession.
The three defendants, plus a fourth man who was not charged, were arrested last night during a coordinated police raid on an apartment building on Mott Street. Police were tipped off to them by a random tipster who said he had firsthand knowledge that Hoffman had visited with them "on at least one occasion."
Police found more than 350 bags of heroin in Vineberg's apartment. Rosenblum and Luchkiw — evidently Vineberg's neighbors — were charged with cocaine and marijuana possession.
Although none of the heroin recovered bore the "Ace of Spades" label found on the heroin in Hoffman's apartment, police say they have several links between Vineberg and Hoffman.
A woman who identified herself as Vineberg's daughter said her father knew Hoffman and confirmed to the Daily News that he had been selling drugs. And police say Hoffman's number was in the address book of at least one of the cell phones recovered in Tuesday night's raid.
It's not clear if Rosenblum and Luchkiw are connected as well.
But all three — even Rosenblum and Luchkiw, who were charged with misdemeanors — are currently being held without bail.
Either way, it seems unlikely that Vineberg could be held legally responsible for Hoffman's death.
Courts have found that under state law drug dealers can't be held liable for customers' deaths.
A 1972 state appellate division case found a dealer can't be found guilty of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide for selling heroin and syringes to a customer who later dies because, the court ruled, legislation enhancing punishment for drug crimes didn't redefine homicide to include the sale of an illicit drug that results in death.
[image via AP]