For Immediate Release
November 16, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
East Haven Woman Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison
for role in New Haven Drug Trafficking Ring
NOV 16 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SONIA CRIADO, 35, of East Haven, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to 38 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for her role in a narcotics trafficking ring that operated in New Haven from 2005 to 2009. On October 27, 2009, CRIADO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).
According to court documents and statements made in court, in the fall of 2008, the New Haven DEA Task Force initiated “Operation King of the Hill,” an investigation into a heroin and crack cocaine trafficking organization headed by Juan Torres-Rios that was operating in New Haven. The investigation included controlled purchases of narcotics, physical surveillance and the use of court-authorized wiretaps on wireless phones known to be used by Torres-Rios and other members of his drug trafficking organization. During the wiretap phase of the investigation, DEA Task Force agents monitored thousands of calls that the Government has alleged pertained to narcotics trafficking.
The investigation revealed that the Torres-Rios organization controlled heroin distribution in the “Hill” section of New Haven, particularly Hurlburt Street, where Torres-Rios resided. The organization regularly obtained bulk quantities of prepackaged “bundles” of heroin, principally from a New York source-of-supply. The heroin, and also crack cocaine, was distributed through a network of mid-level dealers. “Bundles” are 10, single-dose bags of heroin tied or “bundled” together. Each bag of heroin was stamped with one of several logos or brand names that were associated with the Torres-Rios organization, including “Turbo,” “Hummer,” “Diamond Cut,” and “White Castle.”
The investigation further revealed that CRIADO, Torres-Rios’ girlfriend, collected drug proceeds for Torres-Rios and members of the organization, and that she allowed her residence to be used to store narcotics and drug proceeds. CRIADO also traveled with Torres-Rios to New York to obtain bulk quantities of heroin.
CRIADO, Torres-Rios and 18 others were charged as a result of the investigation. All 20 have pleaded guilty.
On September 9, 2010, Torres-Rios was sentenced to 121 months of imprisonment.
This matter was investigated by the New Haven Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, including DEA agents and officers from the New Haven, West Haven, Meriden, Shelton, Hamden, Branford and Ansonia Police Departments.