When the heat got turned up, one local man then decided to go to the other “heat,” according to a prosecutor’s account this week, turning over 2.2 pounds of cocaine to city police.
That led to an investigation that resulted in the indictment of three people on drug charges, including the man who turned over the cocaine.
All three are now accused in a scheme that included shipment of the drugs through the mail and talk of a hit squad coming to Schenectady to find the drugs when they — and the man who received them — went missing, according to prosecutor William Sanderson of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office.
Indicted were Gabriel Rivera-Baez, 29, and Carmen Rivera-Diaz, 22, both believed to be from the Schenectady area, and Bievienido Santos, 35, of Close Street. Each faces one count of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy, both felonies. Santos was indicted last month, while the other two appeared in Schenectady County Court on their indictments this week.
The events unfolded between Sept. 12 and 14, prosecutors allege. Rivera-Diaz and Santos are accused of arranging for a shipment of cocaine to be mailed to Schenectady from either Florida or Puerto Rico, Sanderson said.
The drugs were shipped to Rivera-Baez’ residence on Linden Street. It was unclear why his residence was chosen. Rivera-Baez is accused of knowing about the shipment and participating.
Rivera-Diaz and Santos are married, and Rivera-Diaz and Rivera-Baez are siblings, Sanderson said.
When Rivera-Baez received the box, though, he didn’t turn it over to the other two. He instead took off with it, with the drugs tucked inside a child’s lunch box, Sanderson said.
As they were calling to get the drugs, Rivera-Baez was hiding out in hotels in Schenectady and then in Cobleskill, Sanderson said. Another friend then called him, relaying information that supposed hit men were on their way to Schenectady to find Rivera-Baez and the drugs.
At that point, Sanderson said, Rivera-Baez went to Schenectady police to hand over the drugs with the story that he had innocently possessed them. Rivera-Baez claimed he didn’t realize what it was and when he finally did, he was afraid.
As city police investigated, they discounted Rivera-Baez’ claim of innocence, eventually charging all three, Sanderson said.
All three remain in jail, Santos on $50,000 bail and the other two without bail.