Investigation of Puerto Rico to Connecticut Cocaine Trafficking Ring Results in Indictment against 7 Men
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Albert Angelucci, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge for the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment today charging seven individuals with trafficking cocaine from Puerto Rico to Connecticut through the U.S. Mail.
Charged in the indictment are:
ERICK SUAREZ, 29, of New Britain
LUIS COLLAZO-RIVERA, 37, of Caguas, Puerto Rico
JERRY RODRIGUEZ, a.k.a. “Bebo,” 28, of Hartford
LUIS GONZALEZ-OFARRIL, 23, of New Britain
LUIS TORRES, 35, of New Britain
GREGORY TORRES, 39, of Hartford
JOSE ROMERO-MAYSONET, 30, of Loiza, Puerto Rico
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, since December 2017, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been investigating a drug trafficking organization that was sending Priority Mail parcels containing kilogram-quantities of cocaine through the U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico to Connecticut and elsewhere. The investigation revealed that Suarez coordinated shipments of cocaine from Collazo-Rivera, Romero-Maysonet and others in Puerto Rico to addresses in New Britain, Hartford, Newington, East Hartford and Bridgeport, as well as Springfield, Massachusetts. To date, investigators have identified more than 50 suspect parcels mailed by the drug trafficking organization from Puerto Rico. Investigators intercepted five of the suspect parcels, each of which contained approximately one kilogram of cocaine.
On April 10, 2018, investigators arrested Rodriguez, Gonzalez-Ofarril, Luis Torres and Gregory Torres in Connecticut, and Collazo-Rivera and Romero-Maysonet in Puerto Rico. On that date, a search of Rodriguez’s Hartford residence revealed approximately 400 grams of cocaine, approximately 160 grams of heroin, items used to process and package narcotics for street sale, and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. Also on that date, investigators searched Suarez’s residence, as well as two storage units used by Suarez and one storage unit used by Rodriguez in West Hartford. The search of Suarez’s storage units revealed approximately $40,000 in cash and a search of Rodriguez’s storage unit revealed additional items used to process and package narcotics.
Suarez was arrested on April 12.
The indictment charges each of the defendants with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted of this charge, based on their conduct and the quantity of cocaine involved in the conspiracy, Suarez, Collazo-Rivera and Rodriguez face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and Gonzalez-Ofarril, Luis Torres, Gregory Torres and Romero-Maysonet face a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
The indictment also charges Rodriguez with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, an offense that carries a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
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.
Suarez, Collazo-Rivera and Rodriguez have been detained since their arrests. Gonzalez-Ofarril, Luis Torres, Gregory Torres and Romero-Maysonet are released on bonds pending trial.
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. The DEA Puerto Rico Caribbean Corridor Strike Force and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Newark Division, San Juan (P.R.) Office, are assisting the investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.