Defendant admits role in heroin ring

Friday, May 24, 2013
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— Six of nine Schenectady residents accused of taking part in a heroin distribution ring have pleaded guilty to various charges, according to papers filed in court.

Pleading guilty Thursday was Noel Baez, 35. He pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy with intent to possess and distribute heroin.

Baez admitted to regularly obtaining heroin from other group members for redistribution in Schenectady, according to his plea agreement.

Wiretaps and surveillance linked Baez to the conspiracy from November 2011 to June 2012.

Baez faces up to 30 years in federal prison. He waived the right to appeal any sentence of 7 years, 3 months or less.

Baez and eight others were indicted in July 2012.

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 Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Pleading guilty earlier this month was Luis Torres, 21. Torres also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, based on similar details. He faces up to 20 years and can’t appeal a sentence of 2 years, 9 months or less.

Four others pleaded guilty earlier: Timothy Figueroa, 24; Arnes Vazquez, 40; Wanda Velez, 46; and Marisol Serra-Cruz, 38. Each pleaded guilty to similar conspiracy counts.

Of the four, Serra-Cruz faces the highest penalties, up to life in prison, waiving the right to appeal any sentence of 10 years or less.

Still pending are cases against Carlos A. Monegro, 41, Donato Melendez-Pineiro, 22, and Juan Lopez, 47.

 

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