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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Hartford Fentanyl Trafficker Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison

Leonard C Boyle, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHNNY ORTEGA, also known as “Clatcho,” 39, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for distributing fentanyl.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2018, the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force began investigating Ricardo Reyes, also known as “Rick the Ruler,” a member of the Los Solidos street gang who was distributing fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and crack in the area of Park Street and Hungerford Street in Hartford.  During the investigation, law enforcement conducted multiple controlled purchases of narcotics from Reyes.  Court-authorized wiretaps confirmed that Reyes was distributing narcotics to numerous customers, and identified individuals who supplied drugs to Reyes, as well as associates of Reyes who sold drugs on his behalf.  Intercepted communications also revealed Reyes was acquiring and trafficking firearms.

Ortega, who is Reyes’ brother-in-law, supplied Reyes with fentanyl, and used his Rowe Avenue residence to store, process and package fentanyl for distribution.  On June 17, 2019, a court-authorized search of the residence revealed approximately 3,450 dose-bags of fentanyl, narcotics paraphernalia, a loaded Glock .40 caliber pistol, and ammunition.

On June 27, 2019, a grand jury Hartford returned a 32-count indictment charging Reyes, Ortega and 13 associates with various narcotics trafficking and firearm possession offenses.  Ortega was arrested on July 2, 2019.  On April 20, 2021, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, 40 grams or more of fentanyl.

Ortega, who is released on a $200,000 bond, is required to report to prison on February 28, 2022.

Reyes pleaded guilty and, on February 11, 2021, was sentenced to 18 years 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.  The Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division provided valuable assistance to the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Updated December 28, 2021