EAST HARTFORD MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS
IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR TRAFFICKING COCAINE
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that FRANK PUZZO, 37, of Handel Road, East Hartford, formerly of Rocky Hill, was sentenced yesterday, July 27, by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by five 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, with the assistance of Ivan Rodriguez of Hartford, acquired multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and distributed the cocaine, as well as crack cocaine, to numerous individuals for street-level distribution in the New Britain and greater Hartford areas.
According to court documents and statements made in court, during the investigation, PUZZO acquired two kilograms of cocaine from Velez and Rodriguez at a price of $33,000 per kilogram. The investigation further revealed that, over the course of a one-year period in 2009 and 2010, PUZZO supplied an individual with a total of five kilograms of cocaine. At times, PUZZO also supplied Velez and Rodriguez with cocaine through a third party.
On January 31, 2011, PUZZO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Velez and Rodriguez each pleaded guilty to the same charge and are currently serving prison terms of 144 months and 78 months, respectively.
This investigation has resulted in federal charges against 20 defendants, including Velez, Rodriguez and PUZZO, and the seizure of approximately 26 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of crack cocaine, $650,000 in cash, one firearm, and several vehicles.
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.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney S. Dave Vatti.
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