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Press Release

Bronx Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty To Selling Heroin That Caused Woman’s Overdose Death In A Hospital Rehabilitation Clinic

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DUANE MARTINEZ pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin between 2015 and 2017.  As part of that conspiracy, MARTINEZ arranged to deliver heroin to a 41-year-old woman, Ivy Katz, while she was a patient in a hospital rehabilitation clinic, causing Katz to overdose and die.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The trafficking of heroin and other opioids is a serious crime that often leads to the tragic overdoses that are a public health crisis in our city and around the country.  Duane Martinez sold large amounts of heroin over a long period of time, and he arranged for his heroin to be delivered to an inpatient rehabilitation clinic located inside a hospital.  Martinez’s disregard led to a tragic death and undermined the efforts of health professionals to provide treatment for someone with the courage to seek it.  Thanks to the outstanding investigative work of our partners in the New York City Police Department, Duane Martinez is out of business, and heroin dealers should know that they cannot escape the consequences of their crimes.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint, the Indictment, and statements made in court and publicly available documents:

From at least in or about November 2015 through in or about April 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, MARTINEZ and others conspired to sell more than one kilogram of heroin. 

In particular, on or about January 1, 2017, MARTINEZ arranged for heroin to be delivered to Ivy Katz at an inpatient rehabilitation clinic located in a hospital in Manhattan.  In mid-December 2016, Katz had voluntarily checked herself into the hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation program for opioid dependence.  MARTINEZ arranged for another individual to deliver heroin to Katz in the hospital, evading measures designed to prevent patients in recovery from receiving drugs.  Approximately 30 minutes after the person sent by MARTINEZ left the hospital, Katz was found comatose in her room with a needle containing heroin in her arm.  Katz never regained consciousness and ultimately died on or about January 16, 2017.

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DUANE MARTINEZ, 44, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory term of 10 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge. MARTINEZ is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Caproni on October 25, 2018.

Charges against the other individual named in the indictment – Anthony Dodaj – are pending.  The charges and allegations against Dodaj are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Police Department’s Manhattan South Narcotics Heroin Overdose Team.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys David W. Denton Jr. and Stephanie Lake are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated July 17, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-241