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Justice News

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hartford Grocery Store Owner Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Heroin

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that JOHNNY BELTRE, 35, a citizen of the Dominican Republic last residing in Cromwell, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 108 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing heroin.

According to court documents and statements made in court, BELTRE trafficked heroin from his business, the Beltre Family Grocery store, located at 955 Broad Street in Hartford.  Between July 2015 and January 2016, the DEA’s Hartford Task Force made seven controlled purchases of heroin from BELTRE and his associates.  For each purchase, an individual arranged to purchase heroin from BELTRE through telephone calls, text messages or in-person meetings.  The individual then travelled to Beltre Family Grocery and provided BELTRE with money.  BELTRE then sent the purchaser to the nearby residences of two co-conspirators, Elvis de los Santos and Domingo de los Santos, to obtain the heroin.

On February 22, 2016, investigators in Connecticut learned that BELTRE and two other associates were arrested in the Bronx, N.Y., after BELTRE and his associates provided a courier with a bag containing approximately $500,000 in exchange for 20 kilograms of heroin.  On that date, a search of BELTRE’s residence in Cromwell revealed $433,577 in cash; a search of Elvis de los Santos’s residence revealed two bags of raw heroin, cutting agents, a digital scale and baggies, and a search of Domingo de los Santos’s residence revealed a bag of heroin, a bag of cocaine, cutting agents, a kilogram press, pieces of an unassembled kilogram press, baggies, scales, gloves, a vacuum sealer and $6,000 in cash.

BELTRE has been detained since his arrest.  On January 22, 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Elvis and Domingo de los Santos previously pleaded guilty to related charges and were sentenced to prison terms of 18 months and 20 months, respectively.

BELTRE faces immigration proceedings when he completes his prison term.

The DEA’s Hartford Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Hartford Resident Office and the Bristol, Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Windsor Locks and Willimantic Police Departments.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.

Drug Trafficking
Updated April 26, 2018