UPS Driver Charged in Connection with Drug Trafficking Ring
JUL 12 - Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that FRIMAN ROMERO, age 32, of 287 Hattertown Road, Monroe, Connecticut, was arrested today on a federal indictment charging him with one count of committing a misprision of a felony and two counts of making false statements to a law enforcement officer.
The Indictment, which was unsealed today, was returned by a federal grand jury on June 16, 2004. ROMERO appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons today in Bridgeport and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was released on bond pending trial, which is currently scheduled for September 2, 2004.
The charges against ROMERO stem from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force ("OCDETF") investigation dubbed "Operation Two Terrences," which was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Bridgeport. As detailed in earlier court proceedings, beginning in the Spring 2003, the DEA Task Force targeted the distributors of cocaine, " crack" cocaine and marijuana in and around the City of Bridgeport. From October 2003 through February 2004, the DEA Task Force obtained court-authorized wiretaps for several different telephones that allowed the Task Force to intercept the conversations of the defendants as they talked about their drug trafficking activities.
During the course of the investigation, it became evident that some of the targets were receiving large packages of cocaine that were being shipped via UPS from Puerto Rico. In December 2003, the electronic interceptions revealed that certain members of the conspiracy were expecting UPS packages from Puerto Rico that contained 39 kilograms of cocaine. The packages were supposed to be delivered to an address in the Bronx, New York, but interceptions revealed that the shipment was late and had not yet been received. ROMERO was the UPS driver assigned to deliver packages to this particular location in the Bronx.
Earlier court proceedings revealed that as the investigation intensified regarding the 39 kilograms and this location in the Bronx, ROMERO was questioned by members of the Task Force regarding these packages and his dealings with the intended recipient of the packages of cocaine, Pedro Diaz. As disclosed in earlier proceedings, ROMERO disclosed the existence of the federal investigation to Diaz, and then allegedly made false statements to the Task Force agents who were investigating the missing cocaine, and concealed evidence regarding the cocaine, as well.
The packages, which have never been located, would have a street value of approximately $1.5 million. In February 2003, 25 other individuals, including Diaz, were arrested and charged with various narcotics offenses relating to the distribution of cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana.
If convicted, ROMERO faces a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment on the false statement charges and three years of imprisonment on the misprision of felony charge.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor emphasized that this arrest and federal charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent under the law and it will be the Government's burden to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at the time of trial.
This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, which is located in Bridgeport and is comprised of DEA special agents, officers from the Bridgeport, Stratford, Easton, Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich police departments, and members of the Connecticut State Police.