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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 27, 2020

Hartford Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Role in Heroin and Fentanyl Trafficking Ring

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that FERNANDO TOLENTINO, Jr., also known as “Humacao,” 50, of Hartford was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to 108 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking heroin and fentanyl.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in October 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force began an investigation of an organization that was trafficking large quantities of heroin, fentanyl and other narcotics in Connecticut and western Massachusetts.  The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical surveillance, revealed that members of the organization were receiving bulk quantities of heroin and fentanyl from out-of-state suppliers.  They then stored, processed and packaged the heroin/fentanyl in multiple locations, including apartments located at 280 Collins Street in Hartford, and then distributed the drug in the Hartford area, and also the Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts area.  A significant amount of drug trafficking activity occurred at the Neighborhood Supermarket, located at 316 Farmington Avenue in Hartford.

The investigation also revealed that the drug trafficking organization was using xylazine, a horse tranquilizer, as an additive to the heroin and fentanyl it distributed.

Fourteen individuals were charged with various narcotics, firearms and immigration offenses as a result of this investigation.  During the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 10 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl, much of which was packaged for resale in hundreds of thousands of bags.  Seven firearms were also seized.

Tolentino lived in an apartment at 280 Collins Street, and he operated a drug and firearm stash location there used by the organization.  He also regularly distributed heroin/fentanyl to customers and street-level distributors, and served as a “look out” for the organization.

Tolentino was arrested on June 29, 2017.  On May 11, 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.

Tolentino, who was released on bond, was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Services at the conclusion of today’s sentencing.

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.  Agencies assisting the investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Connecticut State Police.

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

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated August 27, 2020