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Two Yorktown Overdoses Lead Police Investigation to Heroin Ring Bust

Two young people were found dead in March of a heroin overdose and now police say they have arrested 21 people who allegedly supplied them with the drug.

 are due back in court on Dec. 7 to face charges that they are part of a heroin ring that supplied drugs to two Yorktown young adults in Yorktown in March.

The multi-agency investigation first began after  were  in her parents' home on March 26. Police said they found five packets of heroin in the bedroom.

"Anytime you see young adults dying, it will strike a cord with any police officer," Yorktown Police Lt. Robert Noble said. "It ups the investigation."

The 's detective division launched an investigation and learned through interviews where Farrell and Plant had purchased the heroin from. The Westchester County Police Narcotics Unit also joined the investigation and sent an undercover police officer to the Bronx, who purchased narcotics and established there was a connection. 

"It's a pretty substantial drug raid that was taken down and the deaths of those two people led to the investigation," said Kieran O'Leary, spokesperson for the Westchester County Police. 

He said investigators had compared the heroin police bought with a sample from the heroin found in Yorktown. Through a chemical analysis, the cutting agents and chemical composition all matched, showing the high probability both had the same "China White" brand, O'Leary said.

The takedown took place on Oct. 27 in the Bronx neighborhood from where the ring had been operating, out of an apartment building on Hull Avenue. According to records obtained by Patch from the Bronx District Attorney's office, of the 21 people, five of the defendants were charged in the Bronx, including Stephanie Aguilar, Justin Hernandez, Pablo Gonzalez, Pedro Gonzalez and Jose Grijalva, all in their early 20s.

The cases are still under investigation, but a spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office said at the time of the raid four kilos of packaged cocaine were also recovered. The raid also revealed the defendants had been dealing out of retail outlets in the Bronx, including Taget, Applebee's and Marshalls.

"There are drug addicts in Westchester County who travel to the Bronx," O'Leary said.

It's cheaper to purchase the drug in the city and for a small fix, in the Bronx one would pay $8, as opposed to $20 in the suburbs, he said. 

 as a passionate young woman, who was adventurous, sweet, loving, and had a vivacious personality and free spirit. She was a talented musician who had been awarded two music scholarships. Shortly after her death, her family said it had been an accident and their daughter was not a drug addict.

"The arrests are a positive development and will hopefully significantly decrease the availability of heroin in this area," her mother Christina Farrell said. "My greatest hope is that no one else will lose their life this way and no other families will have to grieve this way." 

Plant has been described by his family as a talented guitar player who wrote short stories and poems. 

Farrell's best friend and fellow graduate, Rebecca Ballinger said shortly after her friend's death that Farrell and Plant did not start hanging out until a few days before their deaths. Ballinger started ALYVE, Association for Local Youth Venues and Events, following her friend's death.

In addition to Yorktown police and Westchester County police, the New York City Police Major Case Narcotics Division and a special agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assisted in the investigation.

"This is the last chapter of a sad story that started in Yorktown," O'Leary said. "Heroin made a comeback some years ago and it doesn't show signs of slowing down. And as the two cases in Yorktown show, there can be negative results."

Lt. Noble said there is a bit of satisfaction in making the arrests tied to the two Yorktown overdoses. 

"[Drugs] ultimately get placed in the hands of someone who died and there should be a price they pay through the criminal justice system," he said.

Police officers are cognitive when patrolling the streets, but also need the public's help in catching local drug dealers, he said. Anyone, who has more information, can call the Yorktown Police Department at 914-962-4141.

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