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Press Release

Indictment Charges 14 Men with Trafficking Heroin, Cocaine and Fentanyl in New Haven

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and Interim Police Chief Otoniel Reyes of the New Haven Police Department today announced that a grand jury in New Haven has returned a nine-count superseding indictment charging the following 14 individuals with heroin, cocaine and fentanyl trafficking offenses:

MALBIN RUBIERA-HERRERA, a.k.a. “Chaca,” 28, of New Haven
JUAN LANTIGUA-CID, a.k.a. “Manager,” 46, of Linden, New Jersey
EDUARDO RAMOS, 33, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
BRIAN ABREU, a.k.a. “Braga,” 26, of New Haven
WILLIAM CLAUDIO-SUAREZ, a.k.a. “Willy,” 33, of New Haven
PEDRO ORTA-RIVAS a.k.a. “Cuba” and “El Brujo,” 50, of East Haven
OSVALDO HODGE, a.k.a. “Mono,” 43, of New Haven
STEVEN SANTOS, 38, of Bridgeport
JOSE ANGEL SUAREZ, 36, of Veja Baja, Puerto Rico
MARIO LLANOS-AYALA, 44, of Deltona, Florida
ROBERTO ANTHONY TORRES, a.k.a. “Toni,” 52, of New Haven
MICHAEL MILLER, 38, of New Haven
CHRISTIAN RIVERA-TORRES, a.k.a. “Pantera,” 40, of New Haven

The indictment stems from an investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force and New Haven Police Department.  As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, the investigation revealed that Malbin Rubiera-Herrera acquired heroin and cocaine from sources in Connecticut and New Jersey and distributed the drugs through a network of associates in the greater New Haven.  Between October and December 2018, investigators made controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine from Rubiera-Herrera.  Subsequent court-authorized wiretaps revealed a widespread narcotics trafficking conspiracy that involved the trafficking of kilogram-quantities of heroin into Connecticut.

On April 30, 2019, Rubiera-Herrera, Juan Lantigua-Cid, Eduardo Ramos and Brian Abreu were arrested on federal criminal complaints.  On that date, a search of Rubiera-Herrera’s residence on Augustine Street revealed approximately 700 gross grams of fentanyl.

On May 8, 2019, the grand jury returned an indictment charging the four defendants arrested on April 30, as well as William Claudio-Suarez, Pedro Orta-Rivas and Osvaldo Hodge, who were subsequently arrested.  The superseding indictment, which was returned on June 5, was unsealed yesterday after the arrests of Steven Santos, Roberto Anthony Torres and Takai Quantay Bellamy.  Michael Miller and Christian Rivera-Torres are being transferred from state to federal custody today, and Llanos-Ayala is currently in state custody in New Jersey.  Suarez is being sought by law enforcement.

All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.  If convicted of this charge, based on their conduct and the quantity of controlled substances attributable to them as a result of their involvement in the conspiracy, Rubiera-Herrera, Lantigua-Cid, Ramos and Abreu face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life; Claudio-Suarez, Orta-Rivas, Santos, Suarez, Llanos-Ayala and Torres face a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years, and Hodge, Miller, Bellamy and Rivera-Torres face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

The indictment also charges Rubiera-Herrera, Abreu, Orta-Rivas and Hodge with one or more counts of possession with intent to distribute various narcotics.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the New Haven Police Department, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction, East Haven Police Department, Easton Police Department, Orange Police Department, and the Cape May County (N.J.) Prosecutor’s Office, Gangs, Guns and Narcotics Task Force.

The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis and S. Dave Vatti.

Updated June 11, 2019

Drug Trafficking