Pair Charged With Selling Heroin to Undercover Cops

A task force comprised of county and local police officers and FBI agents arrested two men on Wednesday following a six-month investigation into heroin sales in Westchester and Putnam counties.

Neil Mena, 30, of Hatting Place in the Bronx, was arrested at home on Sept. 14 and found to be in possession of a loaded 9-mm pistol and an ounce of heroin. He was hit with the federal charges of narcotics conspiracy and possession of a firearm in connection with a narcotics conspiracy.

Richard Almaraz, 42, of Catskill Avenue in Yonkers, was also arrested at home and found to be in possession of heroin and cocaine. He was charged federally with narcotics conspiracy.

Undercover officers made numerous purchases of heroin in Yorktown, Mount Pleasant, Mahopac and Yonkers. In addition, undercover officers made two separate purchases of loaded handguns in Yonkers as part of the investigation.

“I would like to commend all the officers and agents involved for their work during this difficult and dangerous investigation,” Westchester’s Public Safety Commissioner George 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.”

Almaraz served 21 years in state prison for second-degree murder before being released on lifetime patrol last year. 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 and Croton-on-Hudson police departments, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.

Undercover Westchester County police officers 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 estimated street value of $48,000.

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.

Both suspects were arraigned in U.S. District Court in White Plains and were taken into custody without bail. They will be prosecuted by the U. S. attorney’s office for the southern district of New York.