News Release
For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Two Plead Guilty to Charges Stemming from Roles in West Hartford-Base Cocaine and Heroin Ring

FEB 18 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that two men charged for their involvement in a West Hartford-based cocaine and heroin trafficking ring pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford.

JOSE GARCIA, also known as “Picua,” 44, last residing on Broad Street in Hartford, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and to distribute, heroin, and MICHAEL MURRAY, 48, of Farmington Avenue, West Hartford, pleaded guilty to one count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony.

On September 4, 2008, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging GARCIA, MURRAY and five other individuals with various narcotics offenses involving the distribution of cocaine and heroin in the greater Hartford area.  During the course of a nine-month investigation code named “Operation Mitt,” federal law enforcement agents conducted controlled purchases of narcotics and intercepted telephone calls that led to the identification of a heroin and cocaine trafficking ring based out of 36 Cortland Street in West Hartford, Connecticut.

During the course of the investigation, GARCIA was intercepted ordering distribution quantities of heroin from co-defendant Nancy Rivera, who resided at 36 Cortland Street.  GARCIA frequently received the heroin on credit, and then distributed it to others.  MURRAY was intercepted on multiple occasions ordering quantities of heroin and cocaine from Rivera.

Each defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27, 2009.  GARCIA faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.  MURRAY faces a maximum term of imprisonment of four years and a fine of up to $250,000.

On February 2, 2009, Rivera pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, cocaine and heroin.  She awaits sentencing.

This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police.