A city cop who helped nab dealers responsible for a string of fentanyl overdoses was honored Wednesday at an annual awards ceremony held by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The ceremony took place in New Haven City Hall. it recognized outstanding law enforcement work by cops statewide. The following New Haven officers won awards:
“On June 19, 2016, Pina overdosed on his own drugs,” the awards program read. “As it turned out, what Pina believed to be pure cocaine was laced with fentanyl. Pina was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was intubated and remained for three days. The day after he was discharged, Pina sold others the same cocaine/fentanyl mixture that nearly killed him. Within a six-hour span on June 23, seventeen people overdosed on Pina’s drugs. Three died. Working around the clock, the DEA and New Haven Police Department quickly identified Pina as the source of the lethal drugs.
“He was arrested on June 27, along with two middlemen who sold drugs for him, Jerome Clay and Steven Whaley. A fourth man, Emeth Soloman, who resold some of Pina’s drugs to one of the victims who died on June 23, was arrested a few weeks later. Pina, Clay, Whaley, and Soloman each waived indictment and pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges. Reflecting Pina’s outrageous conduct and his reckless indifference to human life, he was sentenced to 87 months of imprisonment. Clay and Soloman received lower sentences (respectively, 12 months and a day of imprisonment, and probation) consistent with their lack of knowledge that the cocaine was laced with fentanyl or otherwise was unusually dangerous. Whaley awaits sentencing. The dedicated work of the DEA and NHPD helped to ensure that dangerous drugs were removed from the streets of New Haven before anyone else could become ill, and that a drug dealer who made the cold-blooded decision to sell others the very same drugs on which he overdosed was held accountable.”
• Sgt. Karl Jacobson, head of the local department’s intelligence unit, which has played a crucial role in takedowns of violent gangs through Project Longevity and other inter-agency efforts. He won the U.S. Attorney’s “outstanding investigator award.”
From Wednesday’s write-up: ““Confidence, persistence, leadership, a sense of humor, a work ethic beyond belief, an ability to engage others, an uncanny investigative prowess, an unquenchable thirst for information and the ability to absorb, organize and disseminate that information, these are some of the qualities which make an outstanding law enforcement officer. These are qualities exhibited day in and day out by Sgt. Karl Jacobson. ...
“Sgt. Jacobson has established an Intelligence Unit unrivaled in excellence. He has had the support of his department, but he deserves credit for selecting some of NHPDs finest and making them an elite squad. He is their leader and their partner and the results are unrivaled.
“The daily Intelligence meetings held at the New Haven Police Department and overseen by Sgt. Jacobson have become a model for the nation. The daily meetings are fueled by intelligence and information sharing by virtually every law enforcement agency and department, local, state and federal in the New Haven area. And all of that intelligence and information is collected, amassed, digested, organized and presented by one person, Sgt. Jacobson. Every single morning he is prepared to conduct that meeting and he does so with humor (sometimes), efficiency and productivity, always. Their value is proven by the fact that each morning we have thirty to forty law enforcement professionals in the room, sharing, strategizing and working in partnership with each other. Project Longevity and the daily Intel meetings are, in simple but profound ways, saving lives.”
• Officers Michael Mastropetre and Pedro Colon, who participated in an FBI task force that, through “Operation High Life,” busted a drug-trafficing organization responsible for large-scale heroin and crack distribution in the region.
• Officer David Rivera, Detective Justin Marshall, and Sgt. Jose Miranda, for their roles, along with the FBI and DEA and U.S. Mashal’s Service, in “Operation Northern Corridor,” which led to the bust of a large Fair Haven heroin ring.