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Press Release

Hartford Man Involved in Cocaine Trafficking Ring Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LONNIE ARNOLD, 37, of Hartford, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a cocaine distribution ring.


According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from joint law enforcement investigation headed by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force and the Hartford Police Department that targeted a drug trafficking organization operating in Hartford’s North End that was distributing crack and powder cocaine.  The investigation revealed that David Gil-Grande, of Manchester, received shipments of cocaine, secreted in sealed coffee cans, from Puerto Rico.  He then supplied the cocaine to individuals who converted much of it into crack cocaine, and distributed both forms of the drug in the area of Barbour Street in Hartford.


Gil-Grande secreted cash generated from his drug trafficking in resealed coffee cans and then shipped the cans back to Puerto Rico.  He also drove large amounts of cash to New York City where it would be sent to Puerto Rico.  On January 6, 2016, Gil_Grande was stopped as he drove to New York.  A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed approximately $92,000.


Twenty individuals were charged and convicted as a result of the investigation.


ARNOLD was intercepted on a court-authorized wiretap arranging narcotics transactions with Gil-Grande and discussing money he owed to Gil-Grande.

ARNOLD has been detained since his arrest on February 24, 2016.  On May 8, 2017, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.


ARNOLD’s criminal history spans approximately 20 years and includes seven drug-related felony convictions, periods of incarceration, and multiple probation and parole violations.


Gil-Grande pleaded guilty to related charges and, on January 31, 2017, was sentenced to 70 months of imprisonment.


This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, which includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.  The Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration have provided valuable assistance to the investigation. 


The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

Updated November 2, 2017

Drug Trafficking