A task force of police officers and agents from the FBI arrested two men this week following a six-month investigation into heroin sales in Westchester and Putnam counties.
During the investigation, undercover officers made numerous purchases of heroin in Yorktown, Mount Pleasant, Mahopac and Yonkers, according to Kieran O'Leary, public information officer for Westchester County Police. In addition, undercover officers made two separate purchases of loaded handguns in Yonkers as part of the investigation, O'Leary said.
Neil Mena, 30, of Hatting Place, Bronx, was arrested at his residence Wednesday and found to be in possession of a loaded 9mm pistol and an ounce of heroin, O'Leary said. He was charged federally with Narcotics Conspiracy and Possession of a Firearm in Connection with a Narcotics Conspiracy.
Richard Almaraz, 42, of Catskill Avenue, Yonkers, was arrested Wednesday at his residence and found to be in possession of heroin and cocaine, O'Leary said. He was charged federally with Narcotics Conspiracy.
Almaraz served 21 years in state prison on a charge of second-degree murder before being released on lifetime patrol in 2015. Mena has served time in federal prison and was on federal parole for narcotics and weapons charges.
The task force that conducted the investigation and made the arrests included members of the Westchester County Police Narcotics Unit, the Peekskill, Yorktown and Croton-on-Hudson police departments, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.
In all, undercover officers from the Westchester County Police purchased more than 300 glassine envelopes of heroin and an additional 7.5 ounces of raw heroin from the suspects during the investigation. The heroin has an approximate street value of $48,000, according to O'Leary.
The weapons purchased were a Ruger LCP .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol and .380 rounds of ammunition, and an Iberia .40 S&W caliber semiautomatic pistol, magazine and 40 rounds, O'Leary said.
Both suspects were arraigned in U.S. District Court in White Plains and were remanded to custody without bail. They will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
“I would like to commend all the officers and agents involved for their work during this difficult and dangerous investigation,” Public Safety Commissioner George N. Longworth said. “Not only were these two men peddling poison on our streets, they have previously served prison time for offenses ranging from murder and robbery to weapons possession and assault. Our communities are safer now that they are back behind bars.”