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Suspect surrenders in deadly Hell's Kitchen drugging, robbery spree; 2 more remain at large

Image Source: NYPD

Police arrested one of three suspects sought in a deadly drugging and robbery spree targeting victims visiting gay bars in Manhattan, WABC reported Sunday.

Charges against 30-year-old Jacob Barroso include murder, robbery, and conspiracy, CBS News reported.

Police are still looking for two others in connection with the 2022 deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger. Police say the victims were drugged during a robbery attempt, the outlet also reported.

The three are part of a larger group accused in 17 similar crimes between September 2021 and August 2022, according to the New York Post.

Victims Ramirez and Umberger had both visited gay bars in the city's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood before being found dead, NBC News reported.

Family members say both men's bank accounts were drained of thousands of dollars using facial recognition on their phones after they left the bars with at least one unknown person, the outlet also reported.

Ramirez and Umberger had multiple drugs in their systems, according to the medical examiner's office. The drugs included fentanyl, lidocaine, and cocaine.

Multiple suspects were indicted in connection with the death of the two men, NBC News confirmed last week. According to the indictment, once the victims were incapacitated by the drugs, the co-conspirators would steal the victims' phones and credit cards and use them to make purchases.

Officials told the outlet that the indicted suspects were targeted for financial gain rather than their sexual orientation.

Police said that multiple groups of criminals are committing these crimes. They also said the crimes were not limited to patrons visiting gay bars. Similar crimes were also being committed at bars without an affiliation with the gay community.

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office confirmed they were investigating "several additional deaths in similar circumstances."

NYPD Crime Stoppers released photos of the three men wanted in connection with the two homicides Friday.

Jayqwan Hamilton, 35, and Robert Demaio, 34, were indicted last week and remain at large, the New York Post reported. Both men are from Brooklyn.

The NYPD requests that anyone with information call NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted anonymously on the CrimeStoppers website or by direct message on Twitter to @NYPDTips. Some tipsters may be rewarded with up to $3,500 if a tip leads to an arrest and indictment.

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