News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2006

Willimantic, Hartford Men Plead Guilty to Federal Drug Charges

OCT 31--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, today announced that two more individuals involved in a Hartford and Willimantic narcotics trafficking ring have pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court. Earlier today, before Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello, SAMMY HAYES, age 49, of Willimantic, pleaded guilty to one count count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, and CARLOS AMILCAR ORTIZ, age 52, of Hartford, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.

This matter stems from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation dubbed “Operation SAPO,” which began in late 2004 and was spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. On August 10, 2005, a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford returned an 18-count indictment charging 23 individuals with various narcotics offenses, primarily related to the distribution of heroin. To date, 20 of the 23 charged defendants have pleaded guilty.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, beginning in the fall of 2004, the DEA began an investigation of Luis Camacho, a drug trafficker operating in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Following several controlled purchases of narcotics, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, from Camacho, a wiretap investigation of Camacho began in late March 2005. During the course of that wiretap, it was quickly learned that Camacho’s heroin supplier was Alfredo Aguilar of Willimantic. A subsequent wiretap investigation of Aguilar revealed that he operated an extensive heroin trafficking operation involving several other Willimantic-area residents, and that Aguilar was supplied with approximately one-half of one kilogram of heroin on a monthly basis by Jose del los Santos Rubio Betancurth of Hartford and Juan Carlos Velez of New Britain, which Aguilar and others redistributed.

The wiretap revealed that Aguilar regularly supplied HAYES with redistribution quantities of heroin, and that Velez regularly supplied ORTIZ with redistribution quantities of cocaine.

Searches at the conclusion of the four-month wiretap investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 2 kilograms of cocaine, 350 grams of heroin, 400 grams of methamphetamine, two handguns and cash.

Judge Covello has scheduled sentencing for January 18, 2006, at which time HAYES and ORTIZ each face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Camacho, Aguilar, Betancurth and Velez have pleaded guilty to various narcotics trafficking charges and each awaits sentencing.

Willimantic is a Department of Justice recognized and funded Weed and Seed site. Weed and Seed is a Department of Justice strategy that aims to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” criminals who participate in violent crime and drug abuse, attempting to prevent their return to the targeted area. “Seeding” brings human services to the area, encompassing prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization.

This investigation was a collaborative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration Hartford Resident Office, which included members of the Hartford, East Hartford, Southington, Manchester and West Hartford Police Departments, the Willimantic Police Department, the Connecticut State Police, Massachusetts State Police, the Southbridge, Massachusetts Police Department, the DEA Worcester, Massachusetts Resident Office, the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of Windham and the United States Attorney’s Office.