News Release
For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Two New Haven Men Involved In Narcotics Trafficking Ring Sentenced To Federal Prison

MAY 11 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that two men were sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to federal prison terms for participating in a New Haven-area narcotics trafficking ring.

In the fall of 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration initiated “Operation King of the Hill,” an investigation into a heroin and crack cocaine trafficking organization operating in New Haven. According to court documents and statements made in court, the investigation included controlled purchases of narcotics, 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 and crack cocaine was distributed through a network of mid-level dealers.

Today, MICHAEL TORRES, 33, of Elm Street, New Haven, was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release. On January 29, 2010, TORRES pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”). According to court documents and statements made in court, TORRES sold crack cocaine for the organization, and also stored some of the organization’s firearms at his residence. TORRES participated in, and was referenced in, numerous intercepted calls that pertained to narcotics trafficking.

RICHARD CLAUDIO, 44, of Rosette Street, New Haven, was sentenced today to 70 months of imprisonment, followed by six years of supervised release. On September 8, 2009, CLAUDIO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. According to court documents and statements made in court, CLAUDIO was a heroin distributor for the organization. On January 2, 2009, CLAUDIO was arrested after he was found in possession of 80 bundles of heroin stamped with the brand name “Turbo.”

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.