FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2006
Franklin Man Sentenced On Federal Heroin Charge
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, today announced that MICHAEL STOKES,
age 46, of North Franklin, Connecticut, was sentenced today by Senior
United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford, to 12 months
and one day of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised
release. On June 2, 2006, STOKES pleaded guilty to one count
of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin.
This matter stems from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force
(“OCDETF”) investigation dubbed “Operation SAPO,” which
began in late 2004 and was spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. On
August 10, 2005, a federal grand jury sitting in Hartford returned and 18-count
indictment charging 23 individuals with various narcotics offenses, primarily
related to the distribution of heroin.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court,
beginning in the fall of 2004, the DEA began an investigation of Luis Camacho,
a drug trafficker operating in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Following several
controlled purchases of narcotics, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine,
from Camacho, a wiretap investigation of Camacho began in late March 2005. During
the course of that wiretap, it was quickly learned that Camacho’s heroin
supplier was Alfredo Aguilar of Willimantic. A subsequent wiretap investigation
of Aguilar revealed that he operated an extensive heroin trafficking operation
involving several other Willimantic-area residents, and that Aguilar was supplied
with approximately one-half of one kilogram of heroin on a monthly basis by Jose
del los Santos Rubio Betancurth of Hartford and Juan Carlos Velez of New Britain,
which Aguilar and others redistributed.
STOKES was intercepted over the wiretap on multiple occasions ordering redistribution
quantities of heroin from Aguilar.
Searches at the conclusion of the four-month wiretap investigation resulted
in the seizure of approximately 2 kilograms of cocaine, 350 grams of heroin,
400 grams of methamphetamine, two handguns and cash.
Camacho, Aguilar, Betancurth and Velez have pleaded guilty to various narcotics
trafficking charges and each awaits sentencing.
Willimantic is a Department of Justice recognized and funded Weed and Seed
site. Weed and Seed is a Department of Justice strategy that aims to prevent,
control, and reduce violent crime, drug abuse, and gang activity in targeted
high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Law enforcement agencies and
prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” criminals who participate
in violent crime and drug abuse, attempting to prevent their return to the targeted
area. “Seeding” brings human services to the area, encompassing
prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization.
This investigation was a collaborative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration
Hartford Resident Office, which included members of the Hartford, East Hartford,
Southington, Manchester and West Hartford Police Departments, the Willimantic
Police Department, the Connecticut State Police, Massachusetts State Police,
the Southbridge, Massachusetts Police Department, the DEA Worcester, Massachusetts
Resident Office, the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District
of Windham and the United States Attorney’s Office.