News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2006

Danbury Man Sentenced to Nearly 22 Years
in Prison on Federal Drug and Gun Convictions

June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that RAFAEL ALMONTE, age 33, formerly of 5 Fairview Drive, Danbury, Connecticut, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 262 months of imprisonment, followed by eight years of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense. Judge Underhill also imposed a $2,000.00 fine. ALMONTE pleaded guilty to the charges on March 9, 2006.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on February 28, 2005, ALMONTE was arrested in Danbury by Danbury Police after ALMONTE led officers on a car chase and crashed into a concrete wall. After ALMONTE was given medical attention, officers recovered in and around the car 42 grams of cocaine, a narcotics scale, a Glock semi-automatic handgun, a Glock magazine, ammunition, and a knife with a 4.5-inch blade. Based on their investigation and interview of ALMONTE’s car passenger, the officers determined that ALMONTE had crashed because he was driving at a high rate of speed while trying to simultaneously dispose of the firearm and cocaine.

ALMONTE’s conviction is the result of a long-term, cooperative investigation between federal authorities and the Danbury Police Department into a large-scale cocaine and crack cocaine distribution ring led by Danbury resident Alex Luna. During the investigation, law enforcement officers conducted several months of surveillance of suspected drug traffickers, made numerous undercover purchases, and utilized federal wiretaps on five different telephones. As part of the investigation, law enforcement officers conducted searches of several residences in Connecticut and New York and recovered cocaine and crack cocaine, drug-packaging materials, narcotics paraphernalia, United States currency, semi-automatic firearms, and ammunition. It was also determined from the court-authorized wiretaps that ALMONTE regularly purchased cocaine from Luna and his associates for street-level distribution.

Twenty-four individuals in Danbury and New York City were arrested, charged, and convicted as a result of this intensive investigation. Alex Luna and several additional defendants await sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Danbury Police Department.