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Press Release

New London Woman Sentenced To 46 Months In Federal Prison For Distributing Heroin

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

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that HEATHER RANGHELLI, also known as “Barbie,” 24, of New London, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 46 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for trafficking heroin.

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 Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado received heroin from a Dominican-based source of supply through New York and then distributed the drug to his own customer base in and around New London.

During the course of the investigation, Cruz “Jay” Bonilla was identified as a heroin and cocaine customer of Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado and Enrique Luciano.  When Bonilla was incarcerated on parole charges with the state, he made arrangements from prison to have RANGHELLI, his girlfriend, take over his heroin distribution activities.  RANGHELLI, who used Bonilla’s cell phone to sell heroin to Bonilla’s customers, regularly obtained 10 to 30 grams of heroin, first from Luciano and then directly from Capellan Maldonado.

More than 100 individuals were charged with federal and state offenses as a result of this investigation.
RANGHELLI was arrested on April 4, 2013.  On December 13, 2013, she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin.  She has been detained since June 20, 2014, when her bond was revoked.

Bonilla, Capellan Maldonado and Luciano all pleaded guilty and are serving prison terms.

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 cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alina P. Reynolds, Sarah P. Karwan 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.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 18, 2015