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Former street hoops star, drug counselor, faces heroin charges

One New York resident was known for his prolific scoring ability as a street baller and his willingness to counsel black children on the evils of drugs and crime. Now, however, the hero of Brooklyn street basketball has been taken into custody and charged with masterminding a large heroin operation in the borough.

The man was one of 13 drug arrests involving the alleged sale of large amounts of heroin in the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Flatbush, Fort Greene and Brownsville. Prosecutors have accused the ring of putting $12 million to $20 million on the street. The ring allegedly sold 2 million vials of heroin on Brooklyn streets. Investigators say they recovered more than $185,000 in cash, six weapons and 2 kilos of heroin. Two of the individual's sons were among the persons arrested. The investigation, called "Operation Flying High," began last November. The man faces a sentence of 25 years to life if his is convicted.

The suspect worked for over 15 years as a volunteer drug mentor for troubled youths over the age of 15. Much of his time as a mentor was spent at Brownsville Recreation Center, the place where police allegedly made a number of drug buys during the investigation. As a young man, he had aspirations to play professional basketball, but his dreams faded when his talents proved short-lived. After abandoning his dreams of playing professional basketball, the man turned to drugs, alcohol and a life of crime. After breaking free from this life, he tried to prevent other youths from following a similar path.

The drug charges against the former drug counselor and the other defendants and could have serious consequences, but each of them is entitled to the presumption that he is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing similar charges may benefit from consulting an attorney who is experienced in defending persons accused of similar crimes. Such a consultation can provide a useful evaluation of the law and facts that will govern the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea bargain or outright acquittal.

Source: New York Daily News, "New York City street hoops star James 'Fly' Williams accused of running Brooklyn heroin ring," Molly Crane-Newman, May 5, 2017

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