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Justice News

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hartford Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Heroin and Fentanyl Involved in 2 Overdose Deaths

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that RUBEN MORALES, 44, of Hartford, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday in Hartford federal court to one count of distribution of heroin and fentanyl.

This matter stems from an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury to users.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on December 24, 2016, Hartford police officers and emergency medical personnel responding to reports of unresponsive individuals discovered two male overdose victims in different locations on Zion Street in Hartford.  A 33-year-old victim was pronounced deceased shortly after he was discovered in the rear parking lot of an apartment complex on Zion Street.  At the scene, officers seized various items of drug-related paraphernalia.  Officers found a 25-year-old victim on the rear porch of an apartment on Zion Street.  The victim was transported to the hospital and later pronounced deceased.

The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner subsequently determined that the 33-year-old victim’s death was caused by a combination of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, and the 25-year-old victim’s death was caused by a combination of cocaine, ethanol, and fentanyl.

The investigation revealed that MORALES supplied fentanyl-laced heroin that both victims consumed shortly before they died.

In January and February 2017, members of the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crime Gang Task Force conducted six controlled purchases of heroin from MORALES.  Subsequent lab analysis confirmed the presence of fentanyl in some of the heroin purchased.

MORALES was arrested on a federal complaint on February 16, 2017.

MORALES is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on May 2, 2018, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years.  He is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.

The FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crime Gang Task Force includes members from the FBI, Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Natasha Freismuth.

Drug Trafficking
Updated January 30, 2018