News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2007

New Britain Man Sentenced to 14 Years on
Federal Firearms and Narcotics Convictions

APR 27 -- 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 LUIS CIRINO, also known as “Gordo,” age 29, of New Britain, Connecticut, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Peter C. Dorsey in New Haven federal court to 168 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. On November 27, 2006, CIRINO pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), and one count of possession of firearms and ammunition by a previously convicted felon.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on September 19, 2006, CIRINO was arrested at 112 Dean Drive by law enforcement officers with the New Britain Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, who were executing a federal arrest warrant for CIRINO and a federal search warrant for 112 Dean Drive. The arrest warrant had been issued based on controlled purchases of crack cocaine and powder cocaine from CIRINO in June, July and August 2006. When the officers arrived at the residence, they apprehended CIRINO as he was attempting to flush down the toilet approximately 100 grams of crack cocaine.

During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement officers discovered two loaded Taurus semi-automatic handguns (one .40 caliber and one .45 caliber) hidden in a secret compartment in a master bedroom closet. In 1995, CIRINO was convicted of second degree assault, and it is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce. Also during the execution of the search warrant, officers discovered three additional firearms located in 106 and 116 Dean Drive, which were abandoned apartments on either side of CIRINO’s residence. Specifically, the officers seized two .223 caliber rifles and a 12-gauge shotgun. According to statements made at the time of the sentencing, the second floor windows of these abandoned apartments had clear views of the driveway for 112 Dean Drive and the rear entrance where CIRINO engaged in his narcotics transactions.

CIRINO was placed in federal custody upon being arrested on September 19, 2006. While in custody, intercepted telephone calls and letters revealed that CIRINO was attempting to use a girlfriend in New Britain to collect drug proceeds from various customers who owed him money. Based on this information, the New Britain Police Department and the DEA obtained a federal search warrant and seized more than $33,000 in cash. CIRINO acknowledged at the time of his guilty plea and at the sentencing that this money did, in fact, represent drug proceeds that he was collecting from various associates while in prison.

Also, while in federal custody, CIRINO was recorded making several statements about his drug enterprise and his arsenal of firearms. Approximately 15 minutes of this recording was played during today’s sentencing proceeding. During the recording, CIRINO refers to himself as the “sniper of New Britain,” brags about the various firearms he has, and makes several different threats against one of the witnesses and one of the law enforcement officers involved in the case. Also, he describes himself as “untouchable” and brags about the money he made as a drug dealer. At one point, CIRINO claims to have sold approximately four kilograms of cocaine every three days and to have made approximately $20,000 per month in profits. He is also recorded stating that, if he gets “ten” (years in prison), he would be “out in eight” and would do a “stickup” to get some money.

“This individual was responsible for distributing large quantities of crack and powder cocaine in and around New Britain and used firearms to further his enterprise,” U.S. Attorney O’Connor stated. “I commend the New Britain Police and DEA for working together to remove a very dangerous individual from the streets of New Britain and allow the citizens of New Britain, especially those living in the areas where CIRINO ran his cocaine operation, to live free of the fear of being victimized by drug-related and gang-related violence.”

Judge Dorsey refused to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of 120 months, determining that a guideline sentence of 168 months was appropriate in light of CIRINO’s extensive narcotics operation and the many guns that he possessed in connection with that operation. Judge Dorsey also noted that CIRINO had not stopped his narcotics activities when he was arrested and had continued to collect narcotics proceeds while in jail.

The Court also ordered the forfeiture of approximately $45,000 in cash and six different firearms and related ammunition that were seized during the investigation.

This case has been investigated by the New Britain Police Department and the Hartford Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.