Waterbury Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison for Role in Fentanyl and Heroin Trafficking Ring
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that JEFFREY TAVAREZ, 22, of Waterbury, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for his role in a heroin and fentanyl trafficking ring.
According to court documents and statements made in court, an investigation by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department revealed that Nestor Sosa-Ortiz operated a Waterbury-based drug trafficking organization that received large quantities of heroin and fentanyl from suppliers in Connecticut and New York and distributed the narcotics throughout New Haven County. The organization used an apartment located at 330 Bishop Street in Waterbury to store kilogram-quantities of heroin and fentanyl, and to process and package the drugs for street sale.
On May 18, 2019, Sosa-Ortiz was arrested in New York City on a separate federal heroin and fentanyl trafficking charge. On that date, law enforcement intercepted a planned drug transaction and seized approximately two kilograms of fentanyl and two kilograms of heroin. Sosa-Ortiz continued to control his drug network while incarcerated by using smuggled cell phones to communicate with various co-conspirators.
During the investigation, Tavarez was intercepted on calls coordinating the purchase of narcotics from both the Sosa-Ortiz organization and from other individuals who sometimes supplied the Sosa-Ortiz organization with narcotics. Tavarez then sold the drugs to his own customers.
Tavarez and several co-defendants were arrested on October 29, 2019. On that date, investigators executed five search warrants and seized approximately six kilograms of suspected heroin/fentanyl, approximately 100,000 bags of suspected heroin/fentanyl packaged for street distribution, approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet pills, one firearm and approximately $50,000 in cash. Tavarez possessed nearly 40 grams of fentanyl packaged for distribution at the time of his arrest.
On October 20, 2020, Tavarez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin and fentanyl.
Tavarez, who is released on a $100,000 bond, is required to report to prison on March 17, 2021.
Sixteen individuals were charged as a result of this investigation. Sosa-Ortiz pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
This investigation has been conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department. The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Clark and 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 https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.