News Release
March 4, 2008

Meriden Man Sentenced To 15 Years In Federal Prison For Dealing Crack, Illegal Gun Possession

MAR 4 -- 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 RICHARD ORTIZ, 31, of Meriden, Connecticut, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Peter C. Dorsey in New Haven to 180 months of imprisonment, followed by eight years of supervised release, for distributing five grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”). ORTIZ also was sentenced to a concurrent term of 94 months of imprisonment for his possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. ORTIZ pleaded guilty to both charges on October 4, 2007.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, the charges against ORTIZ stem from two unrelated cases. In one Indictment, ORTIZ was charged with two counts of distributing in excess of five grams of crack cocaine on February 2 and February 6, 2006. On each occasion, ORTIZ sold approximately one ounce of crack cocaine to another individual. This case involved a joint DEA/FBI investigation into a large scale crack and powder cocaine distribution operation in Meriden and surrounding towns. On October 4, 2006, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging ORTIZ and 34 others. All of the charged defendants have pleaded guilty in federal court.

In the second Indictment, ORTIZ was charged with, among other things, being a previously convicted felon in knowing possession of three loaded firearms. He was arrested by the Wallingford Police Department on March 21, 2006. At the time of his arrest, officers found approximately two ounces of powder cocaine on his person, and a separate backpack in the trunk of his rental vehicle containing three loaded firearms and a bulletproof vest. ORTIZ’s palm prints were found on the magazines for two of the firearms.

This investigation was a collaborative effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Meriden Police Department, the Wallingford Police Department and the New Haven States Attorney’s Office.


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