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2 Arrested In Synthetic Drug Bust In Long Island City, Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Two people have been arrested in a designer drug raid at a luxury high-rise apartment building in Queens.

Chopper 2 was over the scene as chemists in protective hazmat suits along with state police and federal drug enforcement agents raided the waterfront building on Center Boulevard in Long Island City, where apparently an apartment on the fourth floor had been doubling as a drug den, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

Brian Parker, 34, of Long Island City, and Victoria Koleski, 29, of Farmingdale, New Jersey, are charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substance analogues, and distributing and possessing with intent to distribute the controlled substance analogues.

Each charge carries a maximum 20 years in prison as well as a $1 million fine.

Parker, who has two prior convictions for illegally selling prescription drugs, is accused of selling synthetic opioids and other substances, including designer drugs similar to PCP, through the internet.

Neighbors were stunned by the allegations.

"I honestly thought gas leak, wouldn't think anything related to drugs," resident Cynthia Muffuh said. "I'm so shocked."

"This morning was crazy," said Jeremy Rosenberg, who lives across the street.

"I heard some knocking out in the hallway and I didn't think anything of it and then next thing I know, they're ramming the guy's door down," said resident Peter Luxem, whose 2-year-old daughter sleeps just on the other side of the wall from where the raid happened. "I went out there and asked the cops 'Is anything gonna blow up?' They said no it's cool but then I saw the hazmat guys go in and I totally freaked out and I just wanted to get her out of here."

As CBS2's Jessica Borg reported, the investigation began following the overdose death of a 37-year-old Madison, Wisconsin in May 2016. Law enforcement officers found packages addressed to the victim containing vials of a synthetic opioid that authorities said is several times more potent than morphine. They also discovered invoices indicating the drugs had been purchased from a website run by Parker, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors believe Koleski helped Parker send and receive packages for his alleged drug enterprise.

Koleski received raw materials delivered from China sent to Parker, who would then manufacture the designer drugs and have his accomplices ship to his customers, prosecutors said.

Between June 30 and July 5, prosecutors allege Kolseki shipped approximately 218 packages of the designer drugs from her local post office.

"I that it's really symbolic of a drug crisis that's affecting the entire community right now. i think it goes to show you that no neighborhood is immune to use, sale or manufacture of drugs," Jeremy Rosenberg said.

Parker and Kolseki were due in Newark federal court Tuesday afternoon.

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