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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 28, 2017

17 Charged with Distributing Cocaine and Crack in Central Connecticut

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge for the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, today announced the unsealing of two indictments charging a total of 17 individuals with federal narcotics offenses related to the trafficking cocaine and crack cocaine in central Connecticut.

Thirteen of the 17 defendants were arrested on July 26, and three defendants have been incarcerated in state custody.  One defendant is currently being sought.

This matter stems from a joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force that has included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of crack cocaine, and seizures of cocaine and cash proceeds.  According to statements made in court, it is alleged that Westley Northrup, formerly of Meriden, operated a cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking ring while he was incarcerated in state custody.  Northrup conspired with Carlos Roman, of Middletown, to purchase cocaine from suppliers including Omar Rivera, convert some of the cocaine to crack cocaine, and then distribute crack and cocaine through a network of dealers.  Further investigation revealed that Rivera, of New Britain, was being supplied by Orlando Quiros, of Suffield, who regularly received packages containing multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine through the U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico.  Quiros’ operation was assisted by individuals who agreed to accept delivery of the packages, and by Steven Riccelli, a U.S. Postal Service employee.

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers intercepted and seized approximately $240,000 in cash that Quiros had in a vehicle he was driving from Connecticut to New York. 

On July 26, law enforcement executed multiple search warrants and seized approximately seven kilograms of cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, three firearms, and nearly $100,000 in cash.

“The seizure of seven kilograms of cocaine in this case makes clear that these defendants were significant drug traffickers with multiple sources in Connecticut, as alleged in the indictments,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working closely with the DEA, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our state and local law enforcement partners to shut down these drug pipelines and prosecute those responsible.”

“DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling large-scale drug trafficking organizations like this one operating in the central Connecticut area,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ferguson.  “This prolific organization was responsible for supplying kilogram quantities of cocaine throughout the state of Connecticut.  As we all know, drug trafficking, along with the gun and physical violence that often accompanies it, is a serious threat to our families and our communities.  This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative local, state and federal law enforcement efforts in Connecticut and our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek and bring to justice anyone who engages in these crimes.”

“The arrest of these individuals is an example of the commitment of Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners to bring to justice anyone who uses the U.S. Mail to facilitate the transport of illegal drugs, ensuring the safety of the mail, our employees and customers,” said Inspector in Charge Binkowski.

On July 20, 2017, a grand jury in New Haven returned a nine-count indictment charging

WESTLEY NORTHRUP, a.k.a. “Piff,” 29, of Meriden
CARLOS ROMAN, a.k.a. “Frizz,” 37, of Middletown
DENISE HERNANDEZ, a.k.a. “Booty,” 29, of Meriden
RIGOBERTO HERNANDEZ, a.k.a. “Tito,” 36, of Meriden
SHANE BLAKE, 34, of Bristol
OMAR RIVERA, a.k.a. “O,” 34, of New Britain
ANTONIO MIRANDA, a.k.a. “Tone” and “Primo,” 28, of New Britain
CALVIN VAUGHN, a.k.a. “Squeaks,” 34, of Middletown
TURON DAVIS, a.k.a. “Slim,” 39, of Middletown
KASEAN WHITE, a.k.a. “Slay,” 29, of Middletown
DERRICK BRYANT, 26, of Middletown

Each of the defendants in this indictment are charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (“crack”).  If convicted of this charge, based on the type and quantity of narcotics charged, Northrup, Roman and Rivera face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life; Denise Hernandez, Rigoberto Hernandez, Blake, Miranda and Kasean White face a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years, and Vaughn, Davis and Bryant face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

The indictment also charges Roman with multiple counts of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, crack cocaine and/or cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime.

On July 20, 2017, the grand jury in New Haven returned a three-count indictment charging

ORLANDO QUIROS, a.k.a. “O” and “Gordo,” 40, of Suffield
LEONEL QUIROS, a.k.a. “Haze,” 33, of New Britain
COREY BEST, 32, of Bloomfield
LISETTE PEREZ, 34, of Springfield, Mass.
STEVEN RICCELLI, 42, of Unionville
LUIS ARROYO, 56, of New Britain
OMAR RIVERA, a.k.a. “O,” 34, of New Britain (also charged in the Northrup indictment)

Each of the defendants in this indictment are charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.  If convicted of this charge, with the exception of Rivera, each defendant faces a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.  Rivera faces a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years on this charge.

The indictment also charges Orlando Quiros, Leonel Quiros and Best one count of attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and Orlando Quiros with one count of use of a facility in interstate commerce to distribute the proceed of drug trafficking.

Northrup, Roman and Miranda have been incarcerated in state custody.  Kasean White is currently being sought.

U.S. Attorney Daly 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 matter is being investigated by the DEA New Haven Task Force, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Middletown and New Britain Police Departments.  The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, East Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden and Derby Police Departments, and the U.S. Marshals Service.  The U.S. Marshals Service, ATF, FBI and the Suffield, Bloomfield and Springfield (Mass.) Police Departments assisted with the arrests.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Gordon Hall.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated July 28, 2017