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2 Men Arrested for Heroin at Troubled 30th St. Homeless Shelter, NYPD Says

By Shaye Weaver | April 7, 2017 7:56am
 Residents of the Bellevue men's homeless shelter on First Avenue were arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance this week, police said.
Residents of the Bellevue men's homeless shelter on First Avenue were arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance this week, police said.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

KIPS BAY — Two ex-cons — including one on parole for attempted murder — were arrested for holding bags of heroin at a troubled homeless shelter on East 30th Street, officials said.

Angelo Guzman, 51, was searched by Department of Homeless Services police officers during a routine locker sweep at 10:12 p.m. on Monday at the 30th Street Men's Shelter at 400 E. 30th St., police said.

During the search, officers saw a bulge in the center of the pants Guzman was wearing, as well as a clear plastic bag protruding at his waist, police said.

When they removed the items, the officers found 71 white wax paper envelopes labeled "Got Milk?" inside a sandwich baggie. All of them contained what police believe is heroin, the NYPD said.

The next day, at 3:10 p.m., police searching another locker found a stash of 40 paper envelopes labeled with a red star that also had heroin inside, the NYPD said. The drugs belonged to 66-year-old Fernando Ortiz, who also had $811 in cash on him at the time, authorities said.

Both men were arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Ortiz had served time in prison for attempted murder from 2005 to 2013, when he was released on parole, according to the state Department of Corrections.

He pleaded guilty to drug possession and was sentenced to 15 days in jail, prosecutors said.

Guzman served three-and-a-half years in prison on two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and was released from parole in 2013, according to the state Department of Corrections.

He also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day custody program, in which he will spend three days at a Department of Correction facility performing community service and receiving counseling, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said. 

Violent crimes related to shelter residents in recent years have included stabbings, a fatal neck slashing, a rape accusation, drug use and a host of other incidents. 

New peace officers and extra lighting were added in 2015 to combat the problem.

DHS spokesman Isaac McGinn said locker searches are performed regularly at all the agency's sites. Last year, the NYPD did a comprehensive review of security at all city shelters, including aggressively addressing drug crimes, he added.

"The safety, security and well-being of our clients is most important and we continue to focus on improvement, which is why we partnered with NYPD earlier this year to implement a new program in which NYPD works with DHS to oversee and manage DHS shelter security," McGinn said.