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Press Release

Member of New Haven Drug Ring Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WILLIAM CLAUDIO-SUAREZ, also known as “Willy,” 34, formerly of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for his role in a New Haven-based drug trafficking organization.

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

The investigation revealed that Claudio-Suarez distributed narcotics, and also acted as broker for a large shipment of cocaine to Rubiera-Herrera.  In March 2019, after Claudio-Suarez had moved to New Jersey, Claudio-Suarez and Rubiera-Herrera were intercepted on recorded calls coordinating the delivery of two kilograms of cocaine to Rubiera-Herrera for redistribution in Connecticut.  Ultimately, one of the kilograms of cocaine was sold prior to reaching Connecticut, and the other was seized after a traffic stop in New Jersey.

On June 5, 2019, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Claudio-Suarez, Rubiera-Herrera and 12 other individuals with fentanyl, heroin and cocaine trafficking offenses.

Claudio-Suarez has been detained since his arrest on a state probation violation on April 29, 2019.  On October 21, 2019, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine and a quantity of heroin.

A search of Rubiera-Herrera's residence at the time of arrest on April 30, 2019, revealed approximately 300 grams of fentanyl.  He pleaded guilty on June 20, 2019, and awaits sentencing.

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 February 25, 2020

Drug Trafficking