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Press Release

Eastern Connecticut Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty

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

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that CARLOS ALBERTO LOPEZ-ZELADA, also known as “Willi Mexico,” 40, last residing in Willimantic, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and cocaine base (“crack”).

According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2015, the DEA, Willimantic Police Department and Connecticut State Police initiated an investigation into a Willimantic-based narcotics trafficking ring after several overdoses in the region. The investigation, which included the use of confidential informants, physical surveillance, controlled purchases of drugs and court authorized wiretaps on five cellular telephones utilized by the co-conspirators, revealed that Jose Miranda, also known as “Omar,” of the Bronx, New York, was supplying large quantities of heroin and cocaine to LOPEZ-ZELADA and Persio Hernandez of North Windham. LOPEZ-ZELADA converted a portion of the cocaine he received into crack cocaine. LOPEZ-ZELADA and Hernandez, with the help of other co-conspirators, then distributed heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine in the Willimantic area.

The investigation further revealed that LOPEZ-ZELADA utilized a garage unit located on Willimantic Road in Chaplin as a stash location and point of distribution for narcotics.

Miranda was arrested on June 23, 2016, after he was intercepted threatening to shoot a co-conspirator who refused to pay him for a quantity of heroin that Miranda had provided to the individual on consignment.

LOPEZ-ZELADA and Hernandez were arrested on July 6, 2016.

LOPEZ-ZELADA, a citizen of El Salvador, has been detained since his arrest. When he is sentenced, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. He also faces immigration proceedings when he is released from prison.

Miranda and Hernandez have pleaded guilty, await sentencing and are detained.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Caruso and David Nelson.

Updated May 10, 2017

Drug Trafficking