Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Alleged member of giant East Coast heroin ring pleads not guilty after busted in Florida using dead man’s name

October 11, 2016

As published by the NY Daily News on October 6, 2016.

A fugitive who had assumed the name of a dead man was hauled before a Bronx judge Thursday after he was busted in Florida, authorities said.

Carlos Almonte, who authorities said used the identity “Luis Rivera,” pleaded not guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to major trafficking charges that could land him life in prison.

Almonte, one of the heads of a massive, interstate heroin ring, had been on the run since he was among 25 people indicted last month as part of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s “Operation Dirty Dope” sting that confiscated drugs with a street value of $13 million.

The crew of drug peddlers moved the heroin from Mexico into Arizona — before shipping it across the East Coast, Schneiderman said.

The pushers allegedly laced the heroin with chemicals, like nail polish remover, roach killer and Novacain, to up its value.

Almonte is charged with heading the crew’s operation in Massachusetts.

He was on the run near Miami when North Miami and Coral Gables police caught up with him, a law-enforcement source said.

The alleged drug dealer is charged with selling at least 2 1/2 kilos of heroin and 1 1/2 kilos of highly potent painkiller Fentanyl, prosecutors said.