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50th arrests two in connection with cold case murder

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Alex Ventura and Aneudis Almonte met a bloody death in the stairwell of a University Avenue building more than two decades ago. 

The case went unsolved — until Thursday, that is.

The U.S. Attorneys office, as well as the FBI and the New York Police Department, have unsealed a federal indictment against two men they say killed Ventura, 25, and Aneudis, 20,  just before Christmas 1997 at 2769 University Ave. Charged in the murder are Robert Acevedo Acosta and Jose Diaz, aka "Cano," that left Ventura shot in the head, and Almonte stabbed numerous times.

"Today's indictment alleges that more than two decades ago, Robert Acosta orchestrated and Jose Diaz carried out the murders of Alex Ventura and Aneudis Almonte," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, in a release. "Now, thanks to the outstanding work of the NYPD and the FBI, the long arm of the law has reached back over two decades to charge Acosta and Diaz with those terrible crimes."

The two were arrested today, according to 50th Precinct commanding officer Terence O’Toole. They were charged with murder while engaged in a narcotics conspiracy, murder through the use of a firearm, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Acosta lived on Amberson Avenue in Yonkers, police said, while Diaz was living on Decatur Avenue in Norwood.

Acosta paid Diaz to kill people who had stolen drug money from him in the late 1990s, according to prosecutors.  

The arrests were a joint effort carried out by the cold case apprehension squad, according to O'Toole, as well as the Bronx violent felony squad, the FBI violent crimes task force and the Yonkers Police Department's intelligence division.

If convicted, Acosta and Diaz could face the death penalty, or a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.