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Press Release

Medical Doctor Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Fentanyl-Related Overdose Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a complaint charging AVINOAM LUZON with selling fentanyl that resulted in the death of an Upper West Side man.


The complaint alleges that, on or about October 22, 2016, LUZON distributed fentanyl that resulted in the death of Gabriel Tramiel, age 32, of Manhattan. LUZON was arrested this morning and will be presented today before United States Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As a medical doctor and graduate student in public health, Avinoam Luzon was supposed to help the sick get healthy, but instead he allegedly helped fuel the nation’s most serious health crisis, the opioid abuse epidemic. As an alleged drug dealer with a medical degree, Luzon sold fentanyl to Gabriel Tramiel, a 32-year-old New Yorker, and it allegedly killed him.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “We will continue to investigate every single overdose across this city and to make arrests like this. Our goal: to protect life and deter those who peddle these deadly opioids.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1] filed in federal court:


Gabriel Tramiel was found dead by his wife in the early morning hours of October 23, 2016. Tramiel was transported to the hospital and was examined by a medical examiner from the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner who determined that a fentanyl overdose was the cause of Tramiel’s death. Text messages recovered from Tramiel’s phone show a conversation with LUZON the evening of October 22, 2016, in which LUZON requested payment from Tramiel for narcotics and the two arranged a meeting to exchange narcotics for payment. Surveillance video recovered from the apartment building where Tramiel died shows Tramiel inhaling the contents of a nasal spray bottle in the building elevator several hours before he was found dead.


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LUZON, 32, of New York, New York, has been charged with one count of narcotics distribution resulting in the death of another, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.


The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence for the defendant will be determined by the judge.


Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the NYPD for its investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case. He also thanked the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement for their assistance with this investigation.


The prosecution of this case is being overseen by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karin Portlock is in charge of the case.


The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the descriptions of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated February 27, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 17-063