States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|December 29, 2010||
FBI TASK FORCE INVESTIGATION INTO NEW HAVEN COCAINE RING RESULTS IN FEDERAL CHARGES AGAINST NINE MEN
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a seven-count indictment charging nine individuals with narcotics trafficking offenses related to the distribution of cocaine in and around New Haven. The nine men charged in the indictment were previously arrested on federal criminal complaints, and the indictment was returned yesterday, December 28.
According to court documents and statements made in court, the charges are the result of an FBI Safe Streets Task Force investigation that included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on four telephones. During the course of the investigation, the defendants were recorded on numerous occasions allegedly arranging the purchase and distribution of kilograms of cocaine.
During the arrests of the defendants, which commenced on December 17, Task Force agents seized a total of approximately two kilograms of cocaine and more than $27,000 in United States currency.
The indictment charges each of the following eight defendants with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, five or more kilograms of cocaine:
If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine up to $4 million.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, PEREZ-GUZMAN, QUINONES and VIZCARRANDO are each charged in separate counts of the indictment with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. In another count, VIZCARRANDO and RUFINO CANDELARIO, 26, of Ivy Street, New Haven, are charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. If convicted of this charge, each of the defendants faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years and a fine of up to $2 million.
CASANOVA-DEJESUS also is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Finally, the indictment charges HERNANDEZ with conspiring to distribute cocaine while released on bond in the case of United States v. Angelo Hernandez, et.al., 3:09CR130. If convicted of this offense, HERNANDEZ faces a consecutive sentence of imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of the U.S. currency that was seized during the course of the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which includes officers from the Ansonia, Hamden, New Haven and Milford Police Departments, as well as the State of Connecticut Department of Correction. The West Haven Police Department has also provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Fein also recognized the assistance of the New Haven Police Department’s Tactical Narcotics Unit and its Street Interdiction Unit for their assistance in making the arrests and seizures in this case.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael E. Runowicz.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods