Four arrested in drug probe of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death

Police confirm heroin found in Hoffman’s apartment did not contain additive fentanyl

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 3:41pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 6:20pm

US police investigating the apparent drug overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman arrested four people on Tuesday night with more than 350 bags of heroin, the New York Times reported.

Three men and a woman were arrested in a search of three Manhattan apartments. Investigators recovered the bags of heroin inside the apartments, the paper said, quoting a law enforcement official.

The Times said information stemming from the investigation into Hoffman’s death led them to the building, the official said.

Hoffman died on Sunday in an apparent heroin overdose, with a needle found stuck in his arm.

Hoffman’s heroin didn’t have additive

Heroin recovered at Hoffman’s apartment has tested negative for the powerful additive fentanyl, a police official said.

Samples taken from Hoffman’s apartment didn’t contain the potent synthetic morphine, which is added to intensify the high and has been linked to 22 suspected overdose deaths in western Pennsylvania, the official, who wasn’t authorised to talk about the evidence and insisted on anonymity, said on Tuesday.

Investigators also have determined that the Capote star made six ATM transactions for a total of US$1,200 inside a supermarket near his home the day before his death, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. They’ve been piecing together his final hours using video surveillance to determine his whereabouts.

The 46-year-old actor was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment on Sunday. His door was double-locked when his body was found around 11.30am by his assistant and a friend, law enforcement officials have said.

Besides the bank records, investigators discovered buprenorphine, a drug used to treat heroin addiction, at Hoffman’s apartment and are examining a computer and two iPads found at the scene for clues, two law enforcement officials said.

A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office said on Tuesday there has been no official determination made on what killed Hoffman. Police have said the medical examiner’s ruling on his cause of death will determine whether there is any criminality but they suspect it was an overdose.

More than 50 small plastic envelopes of heroin were recovered in Hoffman’s apartment along with syringes, a charred spoon and various prescription medications, including a blood pressure drug and a muscle relaxant, law enforcement officials have said.

Some of the packets were variously stamped with the ace of hearts and others with the ace of spades, they said.

The New York Police Department’s intensive effort to determine the source of the drugs in an apparent accidental overdose is unusual. Courts have found in past rulings that under state law drug dealers can’t be held liable for a customer’s death.

Addiction specialist Dr Louis Baxter, a former president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said on Tuesday that addicts, especially those who have built up high tolerances, can use as much as two bundles of heroin, or about two dozen packets, per day.

“Addicts with financial means will actually stockpile their drug,” he said. “Someone who has developed tolerance, who is seeking to develop a high, may need to inject every two hours or so.”

The Frank E Campbell Funeral Home, which has orchestrated the funerals for celebrities including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and James Cagney, said it was arranging Hoffman’s service. It said Hoffman’s family had requested a private funeral.

The funeral is to be held on Friday.

Agence France-Presse and Associated Press