NYPD officer, man she lived with accused of distributing fentanyl, heroin

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, October 23, 2023
NYPD officer arrested for trying to sell large quantities of drugs
Grace Rosa Baez and the man she was living with were arrested Thursday.

NEW YORK -- A New York City police officer and the man she lived with were arrested for allegedly distributing fentanyl and heroin last week.

The officer, identified as Grace Rosa Baez, 37, and Cesar Martinez, 43, were charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin and narcotics distribution.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York announced the charges against them Friday.

"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," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

Baez of the Bronx had been a police officer with the NYPD for more than a decade. At the time of her arrest, she had been living with Martinez in an apartment. The nature of their relationship was not immediately made clear.

From 2012 up until the date of her arrest, Baez had been employed as a police officer with the NYPD. In 2020, the NYPD began to investigate Baez following accusations of misconduct, and she was placed on modified duty.

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"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," FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said.

From Oct. 9 through 18, Baez and Martinez allegedly had numerous conversations with a confidential source who was working with law enforcement about wholesale narcotics trafficking. Baez and Martinez believed the source to be a drug trafficker.

During these discussions, Baez and Martinez offered to sell the confidential source kilogram quantities of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. At one point, Baez allegedly told the source that the fentanyl was top quality and directed the source to meet her on Oct. 16 to obtain a sample of the drugs for sale.

On Oct. 16, Baez met the source in Yonkers, New York, near her and Martinez's apartment. Baez allegedly handed the source a plastic candy container and indicated the sample of fentanyl was inside. The sample was later tested and confirmed to contain fentanyl.

Over the next few days, Baez allegedly had multiple conversations with the confidential source and offered to sell heroin and cocaine. She was allegedly on duty with the NYPD at the time of some of these recorded conversations.

"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," NYPD Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban said.

After Baez was arrested, law enforcement officers approached her and Martinez's apartment and saw a package of suspected narcotics being thrown outside. Inside the apartment, they discovered a kilogram press machine as well as more suspected narcotics that Martinez seemingly attempted to throw outside.

This case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office's Narcotics Unit.