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Press Release

Southeastern Connecticut Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced to More Than 9 Years in Prison

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

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that PEDRO RIVERA, also known as “Cheito,” 37, of Groton, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 116 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for trafficking cocaine.  RIVERA’s mother and father, who assisted RIVERA’s cocaine trafficking operation, also were sentenced today.

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.

RIVERA arranged the shipment of cocaine from sources in Puerto Rico to the New London area, and was assisted by individuals who lived in and around Morovis, Puerto Rico, including his parents, JUAN RIVERA ORTIZ and IVETTE PAGAN RODRIGUEZ.  RIVERA then distributed the cocaine to customers in southeastern Connecticut through a network of associates.

Judge Bryant sentenced JUAN RIVERA ORTIZ, 58, to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, and IVETTE PAGAN RODRIGUEZ, 54, to five years of probation.

PEDRO RIVERA has been detained since his arrest on April 3, 2013.  On December 9, 2014, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more cocaine.

RIVERA ORTIZ and PAGAN RODRIGUEZ pleaded guilty on November 24, 2014.

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.

Updated December 9, 2015

Drug Trafficking