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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Four Charged with Trafficking Oxycodone and Counterfeit Pills Containing Fentanyl

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that four men were arrested today on federal charges related to the distribution of oxycodone pills, counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, and other drugs in the Hartford area.

Each of the following individuals is charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, controlled substances:

REY URENA, also known as “Rueben,” 21, of Waterbury
YAN REYES, 34, a citizen of the Dominican Republic residing in Hartford
RAMON VARGAS, 20, of Hartford
JOSE LORA, 27, of Hartford

Reyes, Vargas and Lora are also charged with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, controlled substances.  The four defendants are in custody and detention hearings are scheduled, beginning May 21.

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad and the FBI Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force have been investigating the distribution of oxycodone pills, counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, and other drugs from neighborhood grocery stores in New Britain and Hartford.  Between January 2020 and March 2021, investigators made several controlled purchases of illegal pills at the Washington Market, formerly located at 453 Washington Street in Hartford; JZ Tobacco, located at 25 New Britain Avenue in Hartford, and Prestige Market, located at 23 New Britain Avenue in Hartford.  Urena supervised the illegal enterprise, Reyes and Vargas sold pills from JZ Tobacco and Prestige Market, and Lora served as a runner and lookout for the organization.

It is further alleged that, on December 20, 2020, investigators stopped a vehicle registered to Urena and found approximately 4,000 oxycodone pills and $51,000 in cash in a hidden “trap” beneath the front passenger seat of the car.

In connection with today’s arrests, investigators executed multiple search warrants.  It is alleged that a search of an apartment on Colonial Street in Hartford that was used by the drug trafficking organization revealed approximately one kilogram of suspected cocaine, approximately one kilogram of suspected fentanyl or heroin, more than 5,000 real and counterfeit oxycodone pills, approximately 2,000 xanax pills, items used to process and package narcotics, and two handguns.  A search of Urena’s residence in Waterbury revealed approximately $54,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad includes officers from the Bristol, East Windsor, Hamden, Meriden, New Britain, West Haven and Watertown Police Departments.  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 John T. Pierpont, Jr.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated May 18, 2021