105 Charged With Narcotics Trafficking, Firearms
May 22 (New Haven, CT) - Kevin Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut today announced that a total of 105 defendants have been charged as a result of “Operation Bloodline,” a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force, targeting narcotics trafficking and gang violence in the Dwight-Kensington and Fair Haven sections of New Haven. Based on law enforcement operations last week continuing through early this morning, 90 defendants have been arrested, and 15 defendants are still being sought by law enforcement.
The year-long investigation that culminated in today’s arrests included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on 22 telephones, extensive physical surveillance, controlled purchases of narcotics, execution of search warrants and seizures of narcotics and firearms.
Earlier this month, federal grand juries sitting in New Haven returned six indictments charging 101 individuals with various offenses related to the distribution of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and oxycodone, the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, and the possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes in and around New Haven. An additional four defendants have been arrested on criminal complaints. On May 17, three of those indictments charging 61 individuals were unsealed. On May 18, a fourth indictment charging one defendant was unsealed. Today, two indictments charging an additional 39 defendants were unsealed after DEA Task Force members and assisting law enforcement agencies arrested 35 defendants.
According to statements made in court, in the spring of 2011, the DEA Task Force, in conjunction with the New Haven Police Department and the Hamden Police Department, analyzed crime data in New Haven and identified the Dwight-Kensington neighborhood (known as the “Tre”) and the Fair Haven neighborhood as focal points in the Task Force’s efforts to reduce violent crime and narcotics and firearm trafficking in the city. Investigators also developed information that there was a large presence of street gang members from the Bloods in the Tre and from the Island Brothers in Fair Haven, and that many of the violent acts in those areas stemmed from gang-related drug trafficking.
“The arrests of these individuals will send a clear message that there is no area that DEA and our law enforcement partners will relinquish to gangs,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Lane. “If you traffic drugs, you will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted. The success of this operation is a direct attribute of the collaborative work effort of the DEA New Haven Task Force, our local law enforcement counterparts and the United States Attorney’s Office.”
“I want to acknowledge the brave and dedicated work of the DEA Task Force, and each of the police departments and law enforcement agencies that participated in this substantial investigation and the many arrests today and last week,” said U.S. Attorney Fein. “This operation speaks to the commitment of federal law enforcement and our state and local partners to reduce gang violence and to bring narcotics and firearms violators to justice. I also want to acknowledge the U.S. Marshals Service for its critical assistance this past week.”
“The New Haven Police Department is grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DEA and all the law enforcement agencies involved who have partnered with us to address violence in our city and to hold those responsible accountable,” said New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman.
“The success of today’s multi-jurisdictional operation represents outstanding collaboration and effective pooling of resources on the part of local and federal law enforcement authorities,” said Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra. “We place a very high value on fostering and maintaining these partnerships in the interests of enhancing the quality of life in our communities, and our overall law enforcement product.”
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia and Meriden Police Departments. The United States Marshals Service, the Connecticut State Police, the Connecticut Department of Correction, Parole and Community Services and the Milford, Hartford, New Britain, North Branford and Stratford Police Departments have provided invaluable assistance to the investigation.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys S. Dave Vatti and Marc Silverman.