Officials: NY Suspect Had Hoffman's Cell Number
Jazzman 'turned to dealing when gigs dried up'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2014 10:57 PM CST
Updated Feb 6, 2014 4:30 AM CST
Vineberg, 57, has recorded under the name Robert Aaron.   (online news)

(Newser) – A struggling jazzman busted in a drug raid linked to the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman had the actor's phone number in his cell phone, law enforcement officials say. Robert Vineberg, 57, is among three people facing drug charges after the raid, reports the Wall Street Journal. He has been indicted for felony possession of heroin with intent to sell and he is being held without bail. Two other people busted in the raid—during which two other phones with Hoffman's number were found—have been indicted on drug possession charges, while a fourth has been freed due to lack of evidence, TMZ finds; all three suspects pleaded not guilty yesterday, NBC New York reports.

The New York Daily News has more background on Vineberg, a saxophonist who goes by the name Robert Aaron and has played with artists including David Bowie and Paul Simon. His stepdaughter says he knew Hoffman for several months, and only started selling drugs when the gigs dried up. "He got into this because right now he couldn’t find any work—anything," she says. "This is the only thing he could think of. He couldn’t even find work washing dishes." Vineberg's lawyer insists his client had nothing to do with Hoffman's death and he hopes he is not being made "a scapegoat in that unfortunate situation."

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
OrneryPup
Feb 6, 2014 6:21 PM CST
Vineberg couldn't find or hold a job because he was strung out or drugs his own self. ANY time someone dies due to a drug OD, the dealer should be held accountable and thrown in a cage.
MommaApple
Feb 6, 2014 11:07 AM CST
Sorry but this is a joke. Cops know exactly who the drug dealers are and who they are not. I remember one day in NYC my sister was dating a cop and we went to see him at work one night. A drug deal went right down in front of us and he said we don't care what they do as long as they keep to themselves. Actually it was a bit more racial but that is the basics. Drug dealers in NYC are free to do as they want as long as they keep to themselves. I am very sorry for Philip Seymour Hoffman's death. He was a great actor who died too early. But, there are plenty more people who will keep dealing drugs and plenty of cops who could care less cause they don't want the paperwork that can take a few hours to go with it to keep them at work after their shift is supposed to be over. The only reason for these arrests is because he was a white celebrity, and yes I am white and I said that. If he was black and a celebrity something might have happened but other than that your shit out of luck cause no one cares. Sorry to say that is just the way it is and until attitudes change and cops change and we get beat cops back into neighborhoods who live there nothing will change cause there is nothing vested in a cop who lives on LI and works in NYC.
Lou Bernardo
Feb 6, 2014 8:40 AM CST
A dozen or more drug users die from ODs every day in the black and Latino ghettos and no one cares, yet a celebrity ODs and it becomes a national media event with police turning the town upside down looking for the dealer. The Martin-Zimmerman media event was similar. On the same day two black girls walking a baby was shot by a drive by gang related crime in Sanford. Not evenmentioned outside of the local news. I guess we have special victims and "who cares?" victims today. You have to be worth a media spotlight if you're a celebrity or an oppostunity to start trouble for the sake of a story.