Schenectady County

Schenectady police say heroin distribution ring busted

Nine Schenectady residents have been indicted in federal court, accused of taking part in a Schenect
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Nine Schenectady residents have been indicted in federal court, accused of taking part in a Schenectady-based heroin distribution ring, officials said Tuesday.

The indictment in U.S. District Court in Albany was unsealed Tuesday with 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.

Only Serra-Cruz had a listed attorney late Tuesday afternoon. She is being represented by Kevin Luibrand. Reached by phone, Luibrand declined to 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,” state police CNET assistant detail commander Capt. Robert Patnaude said in a press 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 multi-agency investigation that included the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Capital District Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Schenectady Police Department, state police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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