Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Edward A. Caban, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the filing of a Complaint in Manhattan federal court charging GRACE ROSA BAEZ and CESAR MARTINEZ with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution of narcotics. The defendants were arrested yesterday and were presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Grace Rosa Baez took an oath to protect and serve the people of New York City. As alleged, she flagrantly violated that oath by pushing poison, including fentanyl and heroin, which are driving the nation’s deadly opioid crisis and have been responsible for thousands of tragic deaths in this city and around the nation. My Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those peddling these deadly poisons – no matter who they are.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “Baez and Martinez allegedly took part in a conspiracy to distribute dangerous narcotics on the streets of our city. This is a direct violation of the oath Baez took to protect and serve. The FBI along with our partners in law enforcement will continue to investigate and hold responsible anyone who endangers our community through narcotics sales.”
NYPD Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban said: “These charges are extremely troubling because there is no place for corruption within the NYPD. If found guilty of these allegations, this officer will have tarnished the shield that she wore, as well as her sacred oath to New Yorkers. She and her co-defendant will certainly be held to the highest account provided by the law.”
As alleged in the Complaint filed today in Manhattan federal court:
From at least on or about October 9, 2023, through on or about October 19, 2023, BAEZ and MARTINEZ had numerous conversations with a confidential source (the “CS”) working with law enforcement regarding wholesale narcotics trafficking. In particular, during those discussions, BAEZ and MARTINEZ offered to sell the CS kilogram quantities of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. For example, on or about October 11, 2023, BAEZ told the CS, in substance and in part, that BAEZ could sell the CS two kilograms of fentanyl for $30,000 per kilogram, could sell the CS an additional 400 grams of heroin with pricing to be negotiated later, and further agreed to provide the CS with a sample of the fentanyl. BAEZ told the CS, in substance and in part, that the fentanyl was top quality and directed that the CS meet her on or about October 16, 2023, to obtain a sample of the drugs available for sale.
On or about October 16, 2023, BAEZ and the CS met in Yonkers, New York, near BAEZ and MARTINEZ’s shared apartment. During the meeting, BAEZ handed the CS a plastic candy container and indicated that the fentanyl sample was inside. As depicted below, the bottle contained a small, clear bag filled with a white powdery substance, which was later tested and confirmed to contain fentanyl.
On or about October 17, 2023, BAEZ told the CS, in substance and in part, that BAEZ had a sample of heroin ready for the CS and asked the CS to meet her in Yonkers. During their meeting, BAEZ handed the CS a clear plastic bag filled with a white powdery substance, which was later tested and confirmed to contain heroin. BAEZ told the CS, in substance and in part, that she had additional heroin available for sale and that she would provide the CS’s phone number to her boyfriend, MARTINEZ.
Later that day, on or about October 17, 2023, MARTINEZ called the CS and negotiated the sale of approximately one kilogram of heroin and 800 grams of fentanyl. MARTINEZ further stated, in substance and in part, that he would have cocaine for sale in the following weeks. Later in the evening on or about October 17, 2023, MARTINEZ told the CS, in substance and in part, that on or about October 19, 2023, MARTINEZ and BAEZ could sell the CS one kilogram of heroin for approximately $25,000 and an additional 800 grams of fentanyl with pricing to be negotiated later. MARTINEZ directed the CS to test the purity of the fentanyl and then pay BAEZ and MARTINEZ based on the quality of the fentanyl.
On or about October 18, 2023, BAEZ and MARTINEZ continued to discuss narcotics transactions with the CS, including negotiations over pricing. BAEZ and MARTINEZ told the CS, in substance and in part, that they would also sell the CS approximately 400 grams of a lesser-quality heroin and an additional sample of fentanyl.
On or about October 19, 2023, the CS and BAEZ met in Yonkers to complete the narcotics transaction. BAEZ handed the CS packages containing suspected narcotics, including what appeared to be one kilogram of suspected heroin, which was labeled “#1”; 400 grams of suspected heroin, which was labeled “400”; 640 grams of suspected fentanyl, which was labeled “640 MANZANA”; and an additional, separate sample of suspected fentanyl, as depicted below:
After BAEZ was arrested, members of law enforcement approached BAEZ and MARTINEZ’s shared apartment and observed a package of suspected narcotics being thrown from inside the apartment to outside the apartment. Inside the apartment, law enforcement discovered a kilogram press machine, as well as additional suspected narcotics that MARTINEZ had apparently attempted to throw outside.
Up to the date of her arrest, BAEZ had been employed as a police officer with the NYPD. BAEZ began her employment with the NYPD in or about 2012. In or about 2020, following accusations of misconduct, the NYPD began to investigate BAEZ, who was ultimately placed on modified duty. As of October 2023, during her participation in selling kilogram quantities of narcotics, BAEZ was assigned to modified desk duty at a particular NYPD facility.
BAEZ engaged in some of the above-described offense conduct while on duty. For example, BAEZ was on duty: (i) on or about October 11, 2023, when BAEZ communicated with the CS regarding where to meet to discuss the drug sales; (ii) on or about October 13, 2023, when BAEZ negotiated the price and quality of the fentanyl and arranged to deliver a sample of fentanyl to the CS; and (iii) on or about October 18, 2023, when BAEZ negotiated the final delivery with the CS.
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BAEZ, 37, of the Bronx, New York, and MARTINEZ, 43, of Yonkers, New York, are charged in Count One with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin and in Counts Two, Three, and Four with narcotics distribution. Counts One and Four carry a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Counts Two and Three carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The minimum and maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and NYPD.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda C. Weingarten is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.