Derby Man Pleads Guilty to Heading Crack Cocaine Operation
June W. Stansbury, 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 RICHARD SANCHEZ, age 27, of Derby, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to one count of an Indictment charging him with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”) in 2004.
On July 22, 2004, SANCHEZ was arrested on state firearms and narcotics charges after members of the Valley Street Crime Unit, which include officers from the Derby, Shelton, Seymour and Ansonia Police Departments, executed a search warrant at his home at 51 Fifth Street. At today’s court proceeding, SANCHEZ admitted under oath that, in 2004, prior to his state arrest, he purchased quantities of powder cocaine in Bridgeport, transported the cocaine to Derby, and, along with other co-conspirators at his residence, converted the powder cocaine to crack cocaine for resale. At the time of his arrest, state authorities seized from his residence more than 250 grams of crack cocaine, a loaded firearm, approximately $9000 in cash and video equipment to monitor the front entrance of his residence. State authorities also seized from a co-conspirator’s apartment numerous items used to convert powder cocaine into crack cocaine. Judge Burns has scheduled sentencing for February 2, 2006, at which time SANCHEZ faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of 10 years, and a maximum fine of $4 million. In addition, based on agreed upon enhancements for the total quantity of crack cocaine involved in the conspiracy, and because the defendant possessed the seized firearm in connection with a drug offense, SANCHEZ faces a possible sentence of 168 to 210 months of imprisonment under the federal sentencing guidelines. SANCHEZ remains released pending sentencing on a $150,000 bond secured by real property. One of the conditions of his release is that he submit to electronic monitoring.
This case was investigated by members of the Valley Street Crime Unit, working together with members of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Bridgeport. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Spector.
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is aimed at reducing gun violence, deterring illegal possession of guns, and improving the safety of residents of Connecticut’s cities. Participants in the initiative include community members and organizations as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. More information on the nationwide Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative can be found at www.psn.gov.