U.S. Marshals say a 49-year-old drug kingpin wanted out of New York was arrested in Phoenix on Tuesday.
Authorities say Nigel Maloney was taken into custody near 51st Avenue and McDowell Road after he was wanted by the New York Police Department for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree.
Maloney is allegedly part of a drug ring charged in a 357-count indictment out of Kings County, New York for selling and distributing "furanyl-fentanil" or "White China," cocaine and heroin throughout Brooklyn and other parts of the country including Arizona.
While he can't speak specifically to Maloney's case and the charges out of New York, ABC15 spoke with DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman, with the Phoenix Division, about furanyl fentanyl. He says it is an analog, or a mimic, of fentanyl. Fentanyl is roughly 50x stronger than heroin. Marshals say Maloney was reportedly a significant part of the drug ring and was believed to be a top-level distributor of the drugs.
"Fentanyl has been around for a long time but we would just see small spikes of it," Coleman said. "You'd see a bad batch got in, ten years ago, and you'd have 30 overdose deaths in a weekend in Pittsburgh or something like that. Now we see it everywhere."
Coleman says fentanyl can be deadly even in very small doses.
"Two milligrams can be a lethal dose," he said. "If you take a penny and you put a quarter of that penny with fentanyl, that could be enough to kill you."
New York authorities determined that Maloney, a previously deported felon, was likely in the Phoenix area and contacted the Marshals Arizona task force.
Following several hours of surveillance, task force members took Maloney into custody.
He was taken to the Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail where he will await his extradition to New York.
Marshals say several members responsible for the drug ring were previously apprehended as part of the "Operation Hardball" investigation.
The drug ring spanned from New York, Arizona, and the Carolinas, according to the Marshals.