Massachusetts Man Admits Trafficking Multi-Kilogram Quantities of Cocaine
MAR 7 -- June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O’Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LUIS JOEL SOTO-SOLIVAN, formerly of 275 County Street, Fall River, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of powder cocaine. On June 29, 2006, a federal grand jury in Hartford returned an Indictment charging SOTO-SOLIVAN and 18 other individuals with various narcotics offenses. SOTO-SOLIVAN is the fourth defendant to plead guilty.
This matter stems from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation dubbed “Operation Ragdoll,” which was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Hartford. According to statements made in court, SOTO-SOLIVAN ran a drug trafficking operation from January 2006 through June 2006 based in Fall River, Massachusetts, which supplied narcotics to various distributors in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. In pleading guilty, SOTO-SOLIVAN admitted that he was supplied with kilogram quantities of powder cocaine from various individuals in Puerto Rico. SOTO-SOLIVAN received shipments of kilogram quantities of powder cocaine through the U.S. Mail. From February 2006 through May 2006, he received nine such shipments. On June 1, 2006, law enforcement officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Service seized one of these packages destined for SOTO-SOLIVAN in Fall River and discovered two kilograms of powder cocaine.
SOTO-SOLIVAN is scheduled to be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey on May 25, 2007, at which time SOTO-SOLIVAN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of life, a mandatory minimum term of 20 years and a fine of up to $8,000,000.
As part of his guilty plea, SOTO-SOLIVAN agreed to forfeit nearly $40,000 in cash and two vehicles. SOTO-SOLIVAN has been in federal custody since his arrest on June 19, 2006. As to the remaining defendants, U.S. Attorney O’Connor stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney O’Connor commended the law enforcement agents and officers who conducted the investigation and praised their devoted efforts to identify, disrupt and dismantle this substantial narcotics trafficking operation.
This investigation is a collaborative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New Britain Police Department, and the Fall River (MA) Police Department.