News Release
For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Three Members of New Haven-Area Drug Ring Plead Guilty

FEB 1 - 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, today announced that three individuals pleaded guilty on Friday, January 29, in Hartford to federal charges stemming from their involvement in a New Haven-based narcotics trafficking ring.

In the fall of 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration initiated “Operation King of the Hill,” an investigation into a narcotics trafficking organization operating in New Haven.  According to court documents and statements made in court, the investigation included controlled purchases of heroin, physical surveillance and the use of court-authorized wiretaps on wireless phones known to be used by targets of the investigation.  The investigation revealed that the organization regularly obtained bulk quantities of pre-packaged “bundles” of heroin, principally from a New York source-of-supply.  The heroin was then distributed through a network of mid-level dealers.  Certain members of the conspiracy also distributed crack cocaine.

MICHAEL TORRES, 33, of Elm Street, New Haven pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”); VICTOR NIEVES, also known as “Bori,” of Button Street, New Haven, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, and AMY WERGIN, also known as “Bella,” of High Street, Naugatuck, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Both NIEVES and WERGIN were heroin distributors affiliated with the organization.  TORRES distributed “eight-balls” of crack cocaine for the organization and, in pleading guilty, admitted that he possessed firearm during the conspiracy.

NIEVES, WERGIN and TORRES are scheduled to be sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello on May 4, May 5 and May 11, respectively.  NIEVES faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine of up to $4 million.  WERGIN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.  TORRES faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years and a fine of up to $2 million.

Twenty individuals have been charged as a result of the investigation.

This matter was investigated by the New Haven Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, including DEA agents and officers from the New Haven, West Haven, Meriden, Shelton, Hamden, Branford and Ansonia Police Departments.