News Release
For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

New Haven Resident Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Marijuana

JAN 21 - Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARK NALBANDIAN, 26, a Canadian citizen last residing on Hine Place in New Haven, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 87 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking marijuana.  Judge Bryant also ordered NALBANDIAN to pay a fine in the amount of $80,000.  On April 30, 2009, a federal jury found NALBANDIAN guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution, of marijuana.

According to the evidence disclosed during the trial, on multiple occasions between approximately October 2007 and March 2008, NALBANDIAN, in concert with Canadian suppliers, provided individuals in New York with shipments of marijuana ranging from 60 pounds to 500 pounds.  On March 3, 2008, Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force agents followed NALBANDIAN from a warehouse located on State Street in North Haven, Connecticut, to a diner in Queens, New York, where he met with Richard Judge, a resident of Queens.  Both NALBANDIAN and Judge were arrested after agents observed Judge transfer five garbage bags containing approximately 100 pounds of marijuana from the trunk of NALBANDIAN’s car into his own.  Task Force agents then executed a search warrant at NALBANDIAN’s New Haven residence and seized a quantity of marijuana and approximately $27,000 in cash.  DEA Task Force agents also executed a search warrant at the North Haven warehouse and found thousands of plastic containers along with fake invoices for those containers in the name of a Massachusetts company whose identity had been misappropriated by NALBANDIAN.  Hundreds of these containers had their bottoms sliced open, indicating that NALBANDIAN was receiving marijuana that was transported from Canada within seemingly legitimate cargo.

NALBANDIAN has been detained since his arrest on March 3, 2008.

On April 3, 2009, Richard Judge pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.  He awaits sentencing.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is composed of personnel from the DEA and New Haven, West Haven, Shelton, Meriden and Branford Police Departments.