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Press Release

Puerto Rico Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Cocaine to Connecticut

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

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSE ANGEL SUAREZ, 39, of Veja Baja, Puerto Rico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking cocaine.

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.

In March 2019, Rubiera-Herrera and William Claudio-Suarez were intercepted on a wiretap discussing the shipment of two kilograms of cocaine two Connecticut.  On March 7, 2019, a series of intercepted calls revealed that Jose Suarez and Mario Llanos-Ayala had just sold a kilogram of cocaine and were traveling in a car in New Jersey.  Investigators alerted New Jersey law enforcement authorities who stopped and searched the car and recovered approximately one kilogram of cocaine, a loaded .45 caliber handgun and more than $2,500 in cash.

On June 5, 2019, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Suarez, Rubiera-Herrera, Claudio-Suarez, Llanos-Ayala and 10 other individuals with fentanyl, heroin and cocaine trafficking offenses. Suarez was located and arrested in Puerto Rico on April 20, 2021.  At the time of his arrest, he possessed nearly 200 rounds of ammunition.

Suarez has been detained since his arrest.  On April 14, 2022, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Suarez is separately charged in the District of Puerto Rico with unlawful possession of ammunition by a felon. 

This matter was 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, Connecticut State Police and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, East Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated August 10, 2022

Drug Trafficking