Hartford Man Sentenced to 54 Months in Federal Prison for Role in Coast-to-Coast Drug Trafficking Ring
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ERNEST OPRECHT, 32, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 54 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for his role in a narcotics trafficking ring.
This matter stems from a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Drug Enforcement Administration into a drug trafficking organization that involved individuals in California using the U.S. Mail and commercial carriers to send large quantities of cocaine to co-conspirators in the Hartford area who sold the narcotics for profit.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Joseph Miller of Los Angeles, formerly of East Hartford, sent kilogram parcels of cocaine from California to Luther Nance, Jermaine Jenkins and their associates in Connecticut. Nance, Jenkins and their associates then distributed the cocaine in Connecticut, or converted the cocaine into crack for street sale. The investigation revealed that certain co-conspirators traveled to California with a large amount of cash to finance the purchase of cocaine. Co-conspirators also made numerous cash deposits into local bank accounts, as well as wire transfers. The cash deposits were made at several branches of the same bank in the Hartford area in amounts of less than $10,000 in order to evade the bank’s currency transaction reporting requirements.
OPRECHT assisted Nance’s and Jenkins’ narcotics trafficking activities. On three occasions, OPRECHT traveled to California to deliver drug proceeds to Miller, to check the quality of cocaine that Miller was supplying, and to oversee Miller’s shipment of the cocaine parcels back to Connecticut. Certain parcels containing cocaine were shipped to OPRECHT in Connecticut, and also to OPRECHT’s girlfriend’s house and to the residence of one of OPRECHT’s family members.
In addition, OPRECHT drove to New York with Nance to obtain narcotics, helped Nance package heroin, and traveled to Vermont with another member of the conspiracy who was purportedly selling crack cocaine in Vermont.
On June 27, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a 51-count superseding indictment charging Nance and 14 other individuals with narcotics conspiracy and related offenses stemming from the sale of crack cocaine and heroin in several communities throughout Connecticut. On November 14, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging OPRECHT, Nance, Jenkins, Miller and four other defendants.
On October 7, 2014, JENKINS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Miller, Nance and Jenkins have pleaded guilty. On February 3, 2015, Jenkins was sentenced to 72 months of imprisonment. Miller and Nance await sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Hartford, and the Hartford, Willimantic, East Hartford, Enfield and Middletown Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.