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Nine indicted in Schenectady heroin ring

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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— Nine Schenectady residents have been indicted in federal court, accused of taking part in a heroin distribution ring based in that city.

The indictment in U.S. District Court in Albany was unsealed Tuesday, leading to the arrests of eight of the nine indicted.

The group is accused of conspiring to distribute a large amount of heroin in and around Schenectady between Nov. 1, 2011, and June 7, 2012.

Swept up on the indictment Tuesday morning, all from Schenectady, were Carlos A. Monegro, 41; Marisol Serra-Cruz, 38; Wanda I. Velez, 46; Juan Luis Lopez, 47; Donato Melendez-Pineiro, 22; Luis A. Torres, 21; Arnez Nino Vazquez, 40; and Timothy Figueroa, 24. Still at large as of Tuesday afternoon was Noel Geovanny Baez, 35, of Schenectady.

Monegro, Serra-Cruz, Lopez and Baez all face up to life in federal prison if convicted. The rest face up to 40 years in federal prison if convicted.

Only Serra-Cruz had a listed attorney late Tuesday. She is being represented by attorney Kevin Luibrand, but Luibrand declined comment.

Those arrested made their initial appearances in federal court Tuesday afternoon.

“The coordination, cooperation and investigative persistence of the many law enforcement agencies responsible for these indictments sends a strong message that those involved in the illegal drug trade will face severe consequences,” Capt. Robert Patnaude, assistant detail commander for the state police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, said in a news release. “The New York State Police will continue to work with our partner agencies to bring drug dealers to justice.”

The arrests were the result of a multiagency investigation that also included the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Capital District Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Schenectady Police Department, state police, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshal Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

 
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