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Press Release

East Hartford Man Sentenced to Nearly 6 Years in Federal Prison for Drug and Gun Offenses

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

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSE RIVERA, also known as “Chepo,” 43, last residing in East Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to 71 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for narcotics and firearm offenses.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in June 2021, the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force and Hartford Police Department made controlled purchases of distribution quantities of fentanyl and crack cocaine from Rivera and his associate, Elvin Gonzalez, also known as “Peewee.”

Rivera and Gonzalez were arrested on June 25, 2021.  On that date, a search of Rivera’s East Hartford residence revealed approximately 162 grams of loose fentanyl, 300 dose bags of fentanyl, items used to process and package narcotics for street sale, a handgun and a loaded magazine, and more than $19,000 in cash.  A search of Gonzalez’s Hartford residence revealed approximately 4,000 dose bags of fentanyl, approximately 139 grams of crack, approximately 18 grams of cocaine, two loaded handguns, a loaded rifle, and additional rounds of ammunition. 

At the time of his arrest, Rivera was on parole after having served approximately 20 years in prison for committing a gang-related murder and a separate non-fatal shooting in 1997.

It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

On January 5, 2023, Rivera pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the same charges on November 10, 2021.  On February 1, 2023, he was sentenced to 87 months of imprisonment.

The FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, New Britain Police Department, West Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

This prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  In May 2021, the Justice Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: Fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Updated June 28, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses