Two Charged with Distributing Heroin Involved in Southeastern Connecticut Overdoses
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the investigation of two drug overdose deaths in May 2016 has resulted in federal heroin distribution charges against NESTOR SANTANA, also known as “Beans,” 29, of New London, and JAMES BUTLER, 23, of Montville.
The charges stem from an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury to users.
SANTANA and BUTLER were arrested today on federal criminal complaints charging each with possession with the intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin. They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven and were ordered detained. The charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in the early morning hours of May 29, 2016, members of the Groton Police Department and emergency services personnel responded to a Groton motel room on the report of a suspected drug overdose. The victim, a 17-year-old female, was administered two doses of Narcan (Naloxone), which were deemed unsuccessful, before she was transported to the hospital and died later that morning.
The investigation revealed that Ramon Gomez, also known as “B.I.,” who knew the victim was under the age of 18, brought the victim to the motel to engage in prostitution. On the morning of May 28, 2016, Gomez sold a quantity of heroin to another individual who then distributed the heroin to the victim. It is alleged that SANTANA supplied Gomez with the heroin that caused the death of the victim.
On May 31, 2016, members of the Montville Police Department responded to an apartment on Route 32 for an “untimely death” investigation. Upon arrival, officers found a deceased 34-year-old female lying face down on the bathroom floor.
The Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner subsequently determined the cause of the 34-year-old female’s death to be “Acute Ethanol and Fentanyl Intoxication.”
It is alleged that the victim was supplied with heroin/fentanyl by BUTLER, who in turn was supplied by Gomez, who in turn was supplied by SANTANA.
In August and September 2016, investigators made controlled purchases of heroin from SANTANA. SANTANA was arrested on state charges on September 29, 2016. A search of his residence at the time of his arrest revealed an additional quantity of heroin and items used to process and package narcotics.
Gomez, 41, of Uncasville, has pleaded guilty to federal sex trafficking of a minor and heroin distribution offenses. He awaits sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Connecticut State Police, Groton Police Department, Montville Police Department, New London Police Department, Statewide Narcotics Task Force – East, and the Regional Community Enhancement Task Force.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito.