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Press Release

East Hartford Man Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison for Trafficking Heroin Cut with Horse Tranquilizer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ALEXANDER PENA, 28, of East Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to 87 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking heroin.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force began an investigation of an organization that was trafficking large quantities of heroin, fentanyl and other narcotics in Connecticut and western Massachusetts.  The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical surveillance, revealed that members of the organization were receiving bulk quantities of heroin and fentanyl from out-of-state suppliers.  They then stored, processed and packaged the heroin/fentanyl in multiple locations, including apartments located at 280 Collins Street in Hartford where some members of the organization also resided, and then distributed the drug in the Hartford area, and also the Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts area.  A significant amount of drug trafficking activity occurred at the Neighborhood Supermarket, located at 316 Farmington Avenue in Hartford.

Investigators made multiple controlled purchases of heroin and fentanyl from Pena and other members of the drug trafficking organization in and around the Neighborhood Supermarket.  The heroin/fentanyl was cut with xylazine, which is a horse tranquilizer.

During the investigation, law enforcement executed 12 search warrants in Connecticut and Massachusetts and seized approximately 10 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl, much of which was packaged for resale in hundreds of thousands of bags.  Investigators also seized numerous vials of xylazine.  Seven firearms also were seized.

Pena has been detained since his arrest on June 29, 2017.  On that date, a search of Pena’s East Hartford residence revealed quantities of heroin and cocaine and approximately $10,000 in cash.

On December 9, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Fourteen individuals have been charged with various narcotics, firearms and immigration offenses as a result of this investigation.

The DEA’s Hartford Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Hartford Resident Office and the Bristol, Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Windsor Locks and Willimantic Police Departments.  Agencies assisting the investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Connecticut State Police.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.

Updated March 10, 2020

Drug Trafficking