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Justice News

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

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Hartford Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in Gang-Related Drug Trafficking Ring

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that NOEL CORTES, 55, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 27 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing fentanyl.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an investigation conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force and Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division into the trafficking of narcotics and associated violence in Hartford’s South End by members and associates of the Almighty Latin Kings Nation (“Latin Kings”).  The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps, physical surveillance and controlled purchases of narcotics, revealed that two alleged members of the Latin Kings operated separate drug trafficking organizations that distributed fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine.  The organizations used multiple locations to process, package, store and distribute narcotics, and possessed firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities.

In May and June 2015, investigators conducted several controlled purchases of suspected fentanyl from Richard Colon, also known as “Droopy,” of Hartford.  On May 15, 2018, Cortes delivered 200 bags of fentanyl on behalf of Colon to complete one of the transactions.

Cortes has been detained since his arrest on July 24, 2018.  On April 24, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, fentanyl.

Cortes’ criminal history dates to 1985 and includes convictions for robbery, assault, narcotics and firearms offenses.

On August 20, 2019, Colon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.  He awaits sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force and the Hartford Police Department.  The Task Force 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 Shooting Task Force have provided valuable assistance to the investigation.

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

Drug Trafficking
Updated September 5, 2019