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Suspect arrested in connection with deaths of two men who were drugged, beaten

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(NEW YORK) — A suspect has been arrested in connection to the incident of two men who died after being drugged and assaulted at gay nightclubs in New York City, according to the NYPD.

Police arrested Jacob Barroso, 30, on Saturday and charged him with murder, robbery, identity theft, grand larceny and conspiracy, the NYPD told ABC News.

Barroso was charged in connection to the deaths of John Umberger and Julio Ramirez, according to police. Their deaths were ruled as homicides after they were given fentanyl-laced drugs, police said.

Law enforcement officials are also looking for two other people in connection to the homicides.

Barroso is expected to appear in court on Monday, ABC News has learned.

Ramirez, 25, was found dead in the back of a taxi on April 21, 2022, and his bank accounts were drained after a night out at Ritz Bar and Lounge.

Umberger, 33, was found dead inside the East 61st Street apartment on June 1, 2022, where he had been staying since he arrived in New York on business. More than $200,000 had been stolen from Umberger’s phone and credit cards, according to his mother Linda Clary.

According to the NYPD, Ramirez and Umberger’s deaths are part of a pattern of robberies that occurred between Sept. 19, 2021, and Aug. 28, 2022. Police are investigating 17 incidents that fit the pattern.

Last week, prosecutors obtained indictments in connection to the case and at least one other person may be charged with second-degree murder.

At least 43 incidents of drugging have been linked to robberies in and around Manhattan clubs dating back to September 2021, with seven of the incidents resulting in fatal overdoses, including the cases of Umberger and Ramirez.

Although the patterns first gained public attention after the April and June 2022 deaths connected to gay bars in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the patterns involve a mix of both straight and gay bars, and of both heterosexual and LGBTQ people.

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