A judge Monday sentenced an ex-NYPD narcotics detective to 5 years of probation for her role in a drug ring that authorities said spread about $170,000 in heroin a week on the streets of Nassau County and New York City before a 2017 bust.
“I don’t know how you went from being a narcotics detective to being involved with a relatively large-scale drug dealer,” acting state Supreme Court Justice Robert Schwartz told defendant Karan Young, 50, of Laurelton, Queens.
Young’s sentencing in Nassau County Court followed her guilty plea in July to a felony charge of fourth-degree conspiracy.
Leigh Jackson, who authorities previously identified as having led the Brooklyn-based ring, is Young’s husband, according to her Mineola attorney, Christopher Graziano.
The judge added Monday that while he believed Young’s role in Jackson’s drug dealing “was relatively minor” and she had no criminal record, “obviously some punishment is due.”
Young addressed the judge briefly, telling him: “I just want to say thank you for your consideration.”
The judge had dismissed another conspiracy count against the former detective that carried a punishment of up to 25 years behind bars.
Prosecutor Lee Genser asked for a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years for Young, pointing out Monday that she once had been on the other side of the law.
Young gave Jackson a mini-NYPD shield and police union card to help him avoid detection while he moved drugs, according to the Nassau district attorney’s office. Prosecutors said Jackson is serving 7 years in prison after pleading guilty last year to attempting to operate as a major trafficker.
Authorities arrested Young and Jackson, then 45, along with 12 others after a 15-month probe they said uncovered a heroin operation that used Brooklyn barbershops and auto body businesses to distribute more than 23,000 doses of the drug every week to dealers in Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn.
Law enforcement officials have said that in June 2016, a Garden City Park woman fatally overdosed on the ring’s heroin, which had been branded “Taster’s Choice.”
After Young’s sentencing, district attorney’s office spokesman Brendan Brosh said in an emailed statement that the former police official “dishonored the badge by helping her heroin dealer partner stay one step ahead of the law.” He added that his office respected the judge’s sentence but believed the maximum sentence would have been “appropriate.”
Young retired from the police force in 2008 and was working for Delta Air Lines at LaGuardia Airport before her April 2017 arrest, when prosecutors alleged her role in the ring was to collect money from drug sales.
Young ignored a question while leaving court Monday.
Graziano said he believed from the beginning that the case against his client was “fightable” because she was charged with participating in a heroin conspiracy but never charged with selling or possessing drugs.
“But under the circumstances here, Miss Young decided that taking the promise of probation was the better thing for her to do,” he said.