Ecstacy Trafficker Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison
JUN 22 --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 CHRISTOPHER BARNES, also known as “Dred,” age 29, who formerly owned and lived in houses at 688A Main Street, Cromwell, Connecticut and 244 Kozley Road, Tolland, Connecticut, was sentenced yesterday, June 21, 2007, by United States District Judge Janet B. Arterton in New Haven to 84 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. On August 30, 2006, BARNES pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing MDMA (more commonly known as “ecstacy”) and one count of laundering money. Judge Arterton also ordered BARNES to pay a fine in the amount of $2,500.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on May 30, 2006, BARNES was arrested by agents with the Hartford Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration after the agents seized more than 25,000 ecstacy pills from him. At the time of his arrest, DEA agents executed search warrants at his Cromwell and Tolland homes and discovered a variety of contraband, including 20 firearms, many of which were semi-automatic handguns or semi-automatic rifles, more than 16 boxes of ammunition, a scope and a firearms silencer. Agents also seized more than $7,000 in cash and four vehicles.
In addition to the seven-year prison term and $2,500 fine, the Court ordered BARNES to forfeit to the Government one 2001 Mercedes CL 600, one 2005 Nissan Titan LE, one 2003 Porsche Cayennes, one 2003 Land Rover Range Rover, the real property at 688A Main Street, Cromwell, the real property at 244 Kozley Road, Tolland, the seized cash and all of the seized firearms and ammunition.
As to the money laundering conviction, BARNES has admitted that, on November 25, 2002, in connection with his purchase of the Cromwell residence, he purchased a cashier’s check for $15,000 from Webster Bank in Connecticut using the proceeds of his ecstacy distribution enterprise.
The charges in this case stem from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation dubbed “Operation Viper,” which was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Hartford, and was aided by investigators in other states, including New Jersey, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
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 BARNES’ ecstacy trafficking operation.
This case was investigated by the Hartford Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.