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Maria Pesantez, 18 -- Overdose

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Two college coeds used cocaine with a pair of convicted drug dealers and had fresh needle marks on their arms when they overdosed in a lower East Side apartment, sources said yesterday.

Police believe a bad batch of heroin may have contributed to the deaths of Mellie Carballo and Maria Pesantez, both 18 and with promising futures.

It was unclear who supplied the drugs, but heartbroken relatives of the victims blamed Roberto Martinez, 41, and Alfredo (Tito) Morales, 33, who were with the teens Friday when the students apparently overdosed.

"How is it possible that they are free?" asked distraught father Juan Carlos Pesantez outside the family's home in Jackson Heights, Queens. "With those [criminal] records? With two girls dead?"

Carballo, a second-semester student at Hunter College, and Pesantez, an NYU sophomore, were found about 6 p.m. Friday in an apartment at 484 E. Houston St. Carballo died 20 minutes later and Pesantez died Sunday.

The men admitted doing cocaine with the women, who met at St. Vincent Ferrer High School in Manhattan, a law enforcement source said.

Martinez, who placed a bouquet of red roses in front of the E. Houston St. apartment yesterday, told a different story to the Daily News. He said he came to the apartment, where Morales lives, after Morales called him in a panic.

"I saw [Pesantez] in the bedroom catching a seizure," Martinez said yesterday. "I tried to give her mouth-to-mouth and then I called 911."

Martinez said he met Carballo at a bar about a month ago and didn't meet Pesantez until Friday. He denied giving the women drugs, saying they brought drugs to Morales' apartment.

No one has been arrested and toxicology results are pending.

Morales was convicted in 1995 of possession of cocaine with intent to sell. Martinez, whose is on parole, has 13 narcotics arrests.

The coeds' friends told cops the women wanted to try heroin, a police source said. The friends also told police that Carballo, a former MTV intern, and Pesantez, a pianist and National Honor Society member, had done drugs before.

Relatives dispute that account.

"To my knowledge, she had never experimented with anything," said Celeste Carballo, 21, who shared a room with her sister at the family's West Side apartment.



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