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Police & Fire

Mamaroneck Man Arrested In Heroin Bust, Pit Bull Attack On Officers

Charles Tapia, 26, of Mamaroneck received several drug charges after being arrested in Stamford Thursday.
Charles Tapia, 26, of Mamaroneck received several drug charges after being arrested in Stamford Thursday. Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department

STAMFORD, Conn. — A pit bull bit three Stamford officers who were trying to arrest its owner, a suspected heroin dealer from Mamaroneck, N.Y., at the Stamford train station Thursday afternoon, police said.

Members of the Narcotics & Organized Crime Unit were at the train station looking for Charles Tapia, 26, after receiving information that he was delivering heroin to the city, Capt. Richard Conklin said. Officers spotted Tapia and begin a “very fierce” struggle with him and the dog after he would not listen to them and tie up the dog, Conklin said.

Officers called for backup to assist in taking both the suspect and the dog into custody, police said. But three officers were bit in the process, suffering puncture wounds to the ear, buttocks, thigh and leg, Conklin said.

He praised Sgt. Richard Gasparino and Officers Louis Vidal, Louis Scarano and Brendan Phillips for how they handled the arrest.

“They showed a great deal of restraint,” Conklin said, explaining that in a situation like that the officers could have put down the dog.

The police recovered two glycine bags of heroin in a glove filled with rice and 35 bags in Tapia’s underwear, along with $90 in cash, the captain said. Police do not know how much heroin he had with him because he swallowed several envelopes during the struggle, Conklin said.

Each bag was worth about $20 for a total of $740 in street value, he said. The bags were also marked with red punching gloves and said “K.O.,” the captain said.

Tapia was sent to the hospital for observation overnight before being taken to police headquarters and charged with: interfering with an officer, possession of narcotics, sale of certain illegal drugs, assault on a police officer, tampering with evidence and possession within 1,500 feet of a school or daycare, police said. He was held on $200,000 bond because of the incident as well as his “lengthy criminal record” in New York, Conklin said.

The dog was taken to Stamford Animal Control, where it will be quarantined for 14 days, Conklin said. Tapia told police he just obtained the dog and was unsure whether it had all of its shots, the captain said.

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