Meriden Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Trafficking Charge
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOEL CRUZ, 35, of Meriden, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on September 2, 2017, CRUZ engaged Connecticut State Police in a high-speed chase from I-95 in Milford to I-91 in New Haven. During the chase, CRUZ threw a package containing approximately one kilogram of cocaine from his vehicle. When he was apprehended in the area of Exit 5 on I-91, he possessed $34,360 in cash.
CRUZ is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on November 28, 2018, at which time he faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years. CRUZ also has agreed to forfeit the cash seized at the time of his arrest.
CRUZ is released on bond pending sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force, Connecticut State Police and Milford Police Department. The Task Force includes members from the New Haven Police Department, Milford Police Department, West Haven Police Department and Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony E. Kaplan.