A New York City man busted with tens of thousands of fentanyl pills in the Chelsea section of Manhattan was released from custody without bail, according to reports.
Police said Manuel Pagan, 49, was arrested by New York City Police at 2 p.m. and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance after he was found with about 20,000 pills of fentanyl.
According to the New York State Unified Court System website, Pagan faces two felony counts – one for criminal possession of narcotics with distribution intent, and the other for possessing more than 8 ounces of narcotics. The latter is considered a first-degree class-A felony, and the former is a class-B felony.
The New York Post reported that court documents state pills were multicolored, which authorities say are used to target younger people.
In 2020, New York implemented criminal justice reform legislation, part of which eliminated cash bail for most non-violent felonies and misdemeanors.
Such crimes that were not bailable included aggravated assault on a person less than 11 years old, aggravated vehicular homicide, third- and fourth-degree arson, and promoting a sexual performance by a child.
This year, the state legislature tweaked the criminal justice reform bill passed in 2019 and implemented in 2020, making first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance a bailable offense.
The New York Post reported that the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics prosecutor overseeing the case requested Pagan be held on $100,000 cash bail, or $250,000 bond at his arraignment.
Instead, Manhattan Judge James Clyne released Pagan without bail.
Clyne ordered supervised release for Pagan, which requires him to meet certain conditions like check-ins, but he is free to “roam the streets,” as the Post put it.
Pagan’s next court date is scheduled for Dec. 15 at 9 a.m.