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Press Release

Hartford Woman Sentenced to Prison for Distributing Fentanyl

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

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARIA MALDONADO, 50, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing fentanyl.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force identified Maldonado’s husband as a distributor of heroin and cocaine in Connecticut, New York and elsewhere.  Maldonado’s husband was arrested on federal charges on January 13, 2021, and a search of his and Maldonado’s residence on that date revealed approximately 13,000 wax folds of fentanyl, more than 300 grams of loose fentanyl, approximately one kilogram of cocaine, quantities of crack cocaine and marijuana, items used to process and package narcotics for street sale, a .40 caliber handgun equipped with a loaded 30-round high-capacity magazine, a separate loaded 50-round “drum” magazine, and assorted ammunition.

While Maldonado’s husband was detained in federal custody, he continued to coordinate the distribution of fentanyl through Maldonado, as well as Maldonado’s son, Carlos Santiago, Jr., and a drug supplier, Henry DeJesus-Morales.  On June 2, 2021, a court-authorized search of Maldonado’s residence revealed approximately 71 grams of loose fentanyl, approximately 1,800 wax folds of fentanyl, distribution quantities of marijuana, drug packaging supplies, a loaded pistol, a loaded shotgun, and approximately $13,000 in cash.  The same day, a court-authorized search of Maldonado’s father-in-law’s house revealed approximately $60,000 in U.S. currency and assorted jewelry, which were seized as proceeds of drug trafficking.

Maldonado pleaded guilty on March 17, 2022.

Maldonado, who is released on a $75,000 bond, is required to report to prison on March 1.

DeJesus-Morales and Santiago pleaded guilty to related charges and were sentenced to 44 months and six months of imprisonment, respectively.

As to Maldonado’s husband, who is awaiting trial, U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The DEA's Hartford Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Hartford Resident Office and the Bristol, Hartford, East Hartford, Enfield, Manchester, New Britain, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Windsor Locks and Willimantic Police Departments.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Ruff through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated February 1, 2023

Asset Forfeiture
Drug Trafficking