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Press Release

Florida Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Cocaine to Connecticut

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARIO LLANOS-AYALA, 45, of Deltona, Florida, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking cocaine.

Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the court proceeding occurred via videoconference.

According to court documents and statements made in court, an investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force and New Haven Police Department revealed that Malbin Rubiera-Herrera, also known as “Chaca,” acquired fentanyl, heroin and cocaine from sources in Connecticut and New Jersey and distributed the drugs through a network of associates in the greater New Haven area.  Between October and December 2018, investigators made controlled purchases of narcotics from Rubiera-Herrera.  Subsequent court-authorized wiretaps revealed a widespread narcotics trafficking conspiracy that involved the trafficking of kilogram-quantities of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine into Connecticut.

In March 2019, Llanos-Ayala, Rubiera-Herrera and William Claudio-Suarez were intercepted on a wiretap discussing the shipment of two kilograms of cocaine two Connecticut.  On March 7, 2019, a series of intercepted calls revealed that Llanos-Ayala and an associate had just sold a kilogram of cocaine and were traveling in a car in New Jersey.  Investigators alerted New Jersey law enforcement authorities who stopped and searched the car and recovered approximately one kilogram of cocaine, a loaded .45 caliber handgun and more than $2,500 in cash.

Llanos-Ayala was arrested on New Jersey state charges in March 22, 2019.  He has been detained since his arrest.

On June 5, 2019, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Llanos-Ayala, Rubiera-Herrera, Claudio-Suarez and 11 other individuals with fentanyl, heroin and cocaine trafficking offenses.

On September 25, 2019, Llano-Ayala pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine and a quantity of heroin.

Rubiera-Herrera and Claudio-Suarez pleaded guilty to related charges.  On February 25, 2020, Claudio-Suarez was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment.  Rubiera-Herrera awaits sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the New Haven Police Department, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction, East Haven Police Department, Easton Police Department, Orange Police Department, and the Cape May County (N.J.) Prosecutor's Office, Gangs, Guns and Narcotics Task Force.

The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis and S. Dave Vatti.

Updated May 18, 2020

Drug Trafficking