News and Press Releases


March 23, 2012

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that earlier this week a federal jury in Bridgeport found RUFINO CANDELARIO, 37, of New Haven, guilty of possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.  The jury returned the verdict on March 20 following a two-day trial before United States District Judge Janet C. Hall.

According to statements made in court and the evidence disclosed during the trial, this matter stems from a year-long FBI Safe Streets Task Force investigation into a New Haven-area narcotics trafficking organization.  The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps that recorded defendants on numerous occasions arranging the purchase and distribution of kilograms of cocaine.

On December 18, 2010, Task Force agents, assisted by members of the New Haven Police Department’s Street Interdiction Unit, arrested CANDELARIO and others while conducting a sweep of a New Haven auto-repair garage that was suspected of being a drug stash-house for the organization.  A search of CANDELARIO’s vehicle parked at that location revealed four kilograms of cocaine compressed into brick form and wrapped in cellophane.

Judge Hall has scheduled sentencing for June 6, 2012, at which time CANDELARIO faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
Twenty-six individuals were charged as a result of the investigation.  The other 25 defendants have pleaded guilty to various narcotics offenses.

This case was 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 Attorneys Joseph Vizcarrondo and Michael Runowicz.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722



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