News Release
January 25, 2007

Two More Sentenced For Roles In Willimantic Heroin Ring

JAN 25 -- 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, today announced that two more defendants have been sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford for their roles in a Willimantic heroin trafficking ring.

Today, Judge Covello sentenced CARLOS ACOSTA, age 55, of Brooklyn, New York, to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. On Tuesday, January 23, Judge Covello sentenced SAMMY HAYS, age 49, of Newington, Connecticut, to 27 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Both ACOSTA and HAYS previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and 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.

During the wiretap phase of the investigation in May 2005, ACOSTA was intercepted arranging for the delivery of approximately 70 grams of heroin to Aguilar at a price of $125 per gram. And, during the summer of 2005, HAYS, who resided in Willimantic at that time, was intercepted ordering quantities of heroin from Aguilar for redistribution to third parties.

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.

Aguilar has pleaded guilty and currently 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.

U.S. Attorney O’Connor encouraged individuals in the Willimantic area who believe they have a drug dependency to seek help for their problem by calling the “New Perceptions Program” in Willimantic at (860) 450-0151, and in Danielson at (860) 779-5852.

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,