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Press Release

New Haven Man Sentenced To More Than Seven Years In Federal Prison For Distributing Oxycodone And Cocaine

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

Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH RAO, 53, of New Haven, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 91 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.  On February 4, 2013, RAO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute oxycodone and cocaine.

RAO is one of more than 100 individuals charged as a result of “Operation Bloodline,” a joint law enforcement investigation targeting narcotics trafficking and gang violence in the Dwight-Kensington and Fair Haven sections of New Haven.  Led by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the New Haven and Hamden Police Departments, the year-long investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on numerous telephones, extensive physical surveillance, controlled purchases of narcotics, execution of search warrants, and seizures of narcotics and firearms.  The investigation revealed that RAO conspired with others to distribute oxycodone and cocaine.

RAO was arrested on federal charges on June 6, 2012.  At that time, he was serving an effective state sentence of 60 months of imprisonment stemming from several arrests, including an arrest by the New Haven Police Department on April 1, 2011, after he conducted a sale of oxycodone in a restaurant parking lot.  On that date, a search of RAO’s person and vehicle revealed $9,661 in U.S. currency and more than 100 oxycodone pills.

Judge Burns ordered that RAO begin serving his 91-month federal sentence after he completes his state sentence.

RAO’s criminal history includes 26 convictions.

This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia and Meriden Police Departments.  The United States Marshals Service, the Connecticut State Police, the Connecticut Department of Correction, Parole and Community Services and the Milford, Hartford, New Britain, North Branford and Stratford Police Departments have provided valuable assistance to the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys S. Dave Vatti and Marc Silverman.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 18, 2015