News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2007

Two Bridgeport Men Involved In Cocaine Distribution Ring Plead Guilty

JUN 20 -- 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 individuals pleaded guilty yesterday, June 19, before United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to charges related to their participation in a Bridgeport-based cocaine distribution ring headed by Luis Robles. RYAN PERSAD, also known as “Indio,” age 45, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and illegally re-entering the United States. IGNACIO VASQUEZ, also known as “Chino,” age 32, of Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to using a telephone to facilitate a cocaine distribution conspiracy.

PERSAD and VASQUEZ entered their guilty pleas one day before their trial was scheduled to begin.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, beginning in mid-2005, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force initiated an investigation into suspected distribution of cocaine in the Bridgeport area by Luis Robles and his associates. The investigation employed court-authorized wiretaps, court-authorized audio and video surveillance and several controlled purchases of cocaine. The investigation established that the ring primarily operated out of East End Auto, an auto shop owned by Robles located at 1357 Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport. Robles obtained cocaine from a source of supply located in the New York metropolitan area. Typically, the cocaine was transported by automobile to the Bridgeport area to Robles or one of his associates, and then redistributed in and around Bridgeport to other dealers.

The investigation established that Walter Harrison was supplied with cocaine by Robles and Raul Reyes, which he redistributed from his autobody garage on Berkshire Avenue in Bridgeport.

The investigation revealed that PERSAD was also supplied with several kilograms of cocaine by Robles and Reyes, and that he redistributed the drugs in the Bridgeport area. The investigation further revealed that VASQUEZ acted as a lookout for Walter Harrison’s distribution operation on Berkshire Avenue. Using a walkie-talkie provided by Harrison, VASQUEZ gave warnings to Harrison and his associates when police were in the area.

PERSAD, VASQUEZ, Robles, Reyes, Harrison and others were arrested in April 2006 by DEA HIDTA Task Force members. In connection with the arrests, Task Force members conducted searches at 11 locations in Bridgeport, Derby and Naugatuck, Connecticut, and seized more than 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, more than 500 grams of crack, one loaded semi-automatic handgun that was found in a closet in Robles’ residence, one bulletproof vest, six automobiles, and more than $125,000 in United States currency.

PERSAD faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of life and a fine of up to $4,000,000 of the narcotics trafficking charge, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the immigration charge. VASQUEZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of four years and a fine of up to $250,000.

Robles, Reyes and Harrison have each pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles in this narcotics trafficking ring. On May 3, Judge Underhill sentenced Robles to 188 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. On May 30, Judge Underhill sentenced WALTER HARRISON to 120 months of imprisonment followed by eight years of supervised release. Reyes awaits sentencing.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Members of the Ansonia, Bridgeport, Derby, Easton, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford and West Haven Police Departments participated in the investigation.