New London Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced to More Than 7 Years in Federal Prison
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that PEDRO GIL RIVERA ORTIZ, known as “Gil,” 50, of New London, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 87 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for importing and distributing cocaine.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in early 2012, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), the U.S. Secret Service and the New London Police Department initiated an investigation to combat the large-scale trafficking of heroin and cocaine from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico into and around southeastern Connecticut. The investigation revealed that certain members of the conspiracy coordinated the shipment of heroin, and sometimes cocaine, via human couriers from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Other members of the conspiracy obtained kilogram-quantities of cocaine in Puerto Rico and then mailed the drug to locations in and around New London where it was sold to distributors and customers. Narcotics were also obtained from sources in New York City and Rhode Island.
More than 100 individuals were charged with federal and state offenses as a result of this investigation.
The investigation revealed that RIVERA ORTIZ conspired with his nephew, Juan G. Cheverez, known as “Guinchi,” and Juan Hernandez, known as “Johnny,” to receive kilogram-quantities of cocaine in the mail from Axel Matta Figueroa, known as “Joelito,” in Puerto Rico, and then distributed the drug in southeastern Connecticut. Between November 2012 and through April 2013, Cheverez, Hernandez and RIVERA ORTIZ routinely traveled to Puerto Rico to meet with Matta Figueroa to purchase cocaine. The conspirators often packaged the cocaine at “Gil’s house,” a property in Baharona, Morovis owned by RIVERA ORTIZ, and then mailed the cocaine to locations in the U.S.
RIVERA ORTIZ has been detained since his arrest on April 3, 2013. On November 25, 2014, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Cheverez, Hernandez and Matta Figueroa also pleaded guilty. On February 18, 2015, Cheverez was sentenced to 77 months of imprisonment and, on November 20, 2014, Matta Figueroa was sentenced to 66 months of imprisonment. Hernandez awaits sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine; Connecticut State Police; New London Police Department, Norwich Police Department, Waterford Police Department, Groton Town Police Department, East Lyme Police Department and Putnam Police Department. The United States Marshals Service; ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations; Drug Enforcement Administration; HSI Assistant Attaché, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; HSI Arecibo, Puerto Rico Resident Office; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; Connecticut Department of Correction, Parole and Community Services; and the Groton City, Willimantic, New Haven and Bristol Police Departments have provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
The federal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah P. Karwan, Alina P. Reynolds and Henry K. Kopel. The state cases are being prosecuted by the State’s Attorney for the New London Judicial District and Senior Assistant State’s Attorneys Paul Narducci and Stephen Carney.