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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 16, 2021

Bloomfield Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Trafficking Cocaine

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHAEL COPELAND, 58, of Bloomfield, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for trafficking cocaine.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2018, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force began investigating a Hartford area narcotics trafficking operation that involved the use of the U.S. Mail to ship parcels of drugs and drug proceeds.  Investigators determined that Israel Mendoza, also known as “D-Nice,” supplied Copeland with large quantities of cocaine, and that Copeland, at Mendoza’s direction, mailed parcels containing cash to individuals in California.  In September and October, U.S. Postal Inspectors in California intercepted and seized two parcels, each containing approximately $13,000 in cash, that Copeland mailed in Connecticut to addresses in the Fresno area.  Investigators analyzed postal records and identified dozens of additional parcels connected to this drug trafficking network that are suspected to have contained narcotics or drug proceeds.

In February 2019, investigators seized a parcel containing nearly 500 grams of cocaine that had been mailed from California to a Bloomfield residence that was connected to Copeland.

The investigation also revealed that Mendoza worked with others, including Danny Rhodes and Neliobet DeJesus, in the Hartford area to distribute heroin and cocaine.

Copeland was arrested on November 22, 2019.  On May 19, 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, cocaine.

Copeland, who is released on a $100,000 bond, is required to report to prison on February 16, 2022.

Rhodes, of Bloomfield, and DeJesus, now residing in Orlando, Florida, have pleaded guilty.  On December 8, Judge Dooley sentenced to Rhodes to 87 months of imprisonment. DeJesus awaits sentencing.

Mendoza, last residing in Reading, Pennsylvania, is being sought by law enforcement.  Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that, as to Mendoza, charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter has been investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force, which includes members from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service – Office of the Inspector General, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and the Hartford, New Britain, Meriden and Town of Groton Police Departments.  The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Connecticut State Police and Hartford Police Department assisted the investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated December 16, 2021