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United States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
Press Release

April 4, 2011

DEA TASK FORCE OPERATION TAKES DOWN
ALLEGED BRIDGEPORT DRUG TRAFFICKING RING

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford has returned a five-count indictment charging 15 individuals with various federal narcotics distribution offenses stemming from their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking that was responsible for the large-scale distribution of heroin, cocaine and oxycodone in and around Bridgeport.  The indictment was returned on March 31, and 13 of defendants were arrested today.

The indictment and today’s arrests are the culmination of a six-month joint investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and the Bridgeport Police Department’s Tactical Narcotics Team. The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps and physical surveillance.  In association with today’s arrests, law enforcement officers executed seven search warrants and seized heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, approximately $60,000 in cash and one firearm.

Charged in various counts of the indictment are:

JOSE ARZUAGA, 60, a.k.a. “Viejo,” of Bridgeport,
DAVID PACHECO, 65, of Bridgeport,
CESAR CHAVEZ, a.k.a. “Rolando” and “Quilin,” 52, of the Bronx, New York,
JOSE ZAYAS, a.k.a. “Ho,” 52, of Bridgeport,
NOEL NIEVES, a.k.a. “Skunk,” 57, of Bridgeport,
FRANKIE PINERO, a.k.a. “Mental,” 43, of Bridgeport,
JOHNNIE BERRIOS, 51, of West Haven,
JOSE RAMOS, a.k.a. “Gordo,” 45, of Bridgeport,
JOSE SANDO, 62, of Bridgeport,
HELMAR ROSA
, a.k.a. “Herman,” 58, of Bridgeport,
ANGEL SANTANA a.k.a. “Vega” and “Papo,” 48, of Bridgeport,
DAMARIS RODRIGUEZ, 36, of Bridgeport,
MICHAEL MERRITT, 32, of Hamden, and
ANGEL GARCIA, a.k.a. “Angel Velasquez,” 51, of Bridgeport

CHAVEZ was arrested on Friday, April 1, and the other defendants were arrested today.  The indictment remains sealed pending the apprehension of the last defendant charged.

The indictment charges ARZUAGA, PACHECO, CHAVEZ, ZAYAS, NIEVES, PINERO, BERRIOS, RAMOS, SANDO, and ROSA with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin.  If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

The indictment also charges PACHECO, CHAVEZ, ROSA, and SANTANA with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.  If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.  CHAVEZ and GARCIA also are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

The indictment further charges ARZUAGA, PACHECO, MERRITT and RODRIGUEZ with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone.  If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Finally, the indictment charges ARZUAGA with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that the charges are not evidence of guilt.  The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, and the Bridgeport Police Department’s Tactical Narcotics Team.  The Task Force is composed of members of the Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, Stratford and Westport Police Departments, and the Connecticut State Police.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys H. Gordon Hall and Sarah P. Karwan.

 

CONTACT:

 

U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

 

 

 

 

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