NEW HAVEN, CT. – 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 JOSE COTTO, also known as “Guineo,” 52, of New Haven, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to 57 months of imprisonment, followed by six years of supervised release, for his role in a narcotics trafficking ring that operated in New Haven from 2005 to 2009. On December 16, 2009, COTTO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in the fall of 2008, the New Haven DEA Task Force initiated “Operation King of the Hill,” an investigation into a heroin and crack cocaine trafficking organization headed by Juan Torres-Rios that was operating in New Haven. The investigation included controlled purchases of narcotics, physical surveillance and the use of court-authorized wiretaps on wireless phones known to be used by Torres-Rios and other members of his drug trafficking organization. COTTO, a heroin distributor, was intercepted several times over the wiretap engaging in conversations related to narcotics trafficking.
The investigation revealed that the Torres-Rios organization controlled heroin distribution in the “Hill” section of New Haven, particularly Hurlburt Street, where Torres-Rios resided. The organization regularly obtained bulk quantities of prepackaged “bundles” of heroin, principally from a New York source-of-supply. The heroin, and also crack cocaine, was distributed through a network of mid-level dealers. “Bundles” are 10, single-dose bags of heroin tied or “bundled” together. Each bag of heroin was stamped with one of several logos or brand names that were associated with the Torres-Rios organization, including “Turbo,” “Hummer,” “Diamond Cut,” and “White Castle.”
COTTO, Torres-Rios and 18 others were charged as a result of the investigation. All 20 have pleaded guilty.
On September 9, 2010, Torres-Rios was sentenced to 121 months of imprisonment.
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.