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Press Release

New Haven Man Sentenced to Prison for Distributing Heroin

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CHRISTIAN RIVERA-TORRES, also known as “Pantera,” 41, of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing heroin.

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 Rivera-Torres received heroin from Rubiera-Herrera and sold the drug to his own customers.

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

Rivera-Torres has been detained since his arrest on state charges on May 7, 2019.  On October 24, 2019, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, 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.

Rivera-Torres’ criminal history spans more than 20 years and includes numerous state convictions.

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 August 28, 2020

Drug Trafficking