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Hartford Man Sentenced to 21 Months
in Federal Prison for Distributing Cocaine

HARTFORD, 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 JUAN RIVAS, also known as “Toto,” 30, of Hartford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 21 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a New Britain and Hartford-area cocaine and crack cocaine distribution ring.

This matter stems from a 10-month Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force investigation dubbed “Operation Slow Play.” The investigation, which included the participation of the New Britain Police Department and several other local police departments, revealed that Steve Velez, of New Britain, was trafficking in kilogram quantities of cocaine and multi-ounce quantities of crack cocaine. According to court documents and statements made in court, RIVAS was intercepted over a court-authorized wiretap ordering cocaine from Velez. RIVAS then sold the cocaine in smaller quantities to his own customers.

This investigation has resulted in federal charges against 20 defendants, including Velez and RIVAS, and the seizure of approximately 26 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of crack cocaine, $650,000 in cash, one firearm, and several vehicles.

On January 11, 2011, RIVAS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

On February 1, 2011, Velez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. On May 9, 2011, he was sentenced to 144 months of imprisonment.

This matter has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New Britain, Newington, Windsor, Wethersfield, Wallingford, Manchester and Hartford Police Departments. Additional assistance has been provided by the United States Marshals Service and the State of Connecticut Office of Parole.


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