News Release
For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2008

Two Sentenced to Federal Prison for Roles in Hartford-Based
Heroin Trafficking Organization

JUL 22 -- Kevin L. Lane Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ISRAEL RODRIGUEZ, also known as “Isra,” 44, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, and INES NIEVES, 31, of Jaidee Drive, Hartford, were sentenced today by United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford for their involvement in a Hartford-based heroin distribution organization headed by Felix J. Cancel, Jr., also known as “Feilo” and “Gordo,” and Jose Juan Cancel, also known as “Minin” and “Mingo.” RODRIGUEZ was sentenced to 80 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, and NIEVES was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, this matter stems from a 10-month investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Connecticut State Police. The investigation included the use of undercover agents, confidential informants, controlled purchases and court-authorized wiretaps on telephones known to be used by the Cancels. During the wiretap phase of the investigation, the Cancel brothers participated in numerous, intercepted calls that pertained to narcotics trafficking. The investigation revealed that the Cancels regularly obtained bulk quantities of heroin, principally from a New York source of supply. The Cancel brothers and several co-conspirators would then process the bulk supplies of heroin by grinding it and mixing it with diluents, after which the heroin was packaged for re-distribution. The Cancel organization packaged heroin in two forms: “Bundles,” a term commonly used in the heroin trade to refer to 10 small, single-dosage-unit bags of heroin tied or bundled together; and “Wheels,” a term used by the organization when referring to 50 grams of heroin pressed into a flat, cylindrical shape and heat-sealed in plastic. The Cancels distributed the “bundles” and “wheels” of heroin, often on consignment, to mid-level dealers or street-level dealers affiliated with the organization, who in turn re-distributed the heroin to lower-level dealers or users.

The Cancel organization operated at least two heroin “mills” in Hartford, one at 524-526 Franklin Avenue and the other at 2 Fraser Place, where it processed and packaged heroin for redistribution. On February 9, 2007, Hartford police seized approximately two kilograms of heroin from an apartment located at 2 Fraser Place in Hartford.

The investigation revealed that the Cancel organization was responsible for the distribution of more than one kilogram of heroin on a weekly basis. One kilogram of heroin can produce approximately 50,000 single-dosage-unit bags, with an approximate street value of $500,000.

RODRIGUEZ regularly received from the Cancels significant quantities of heroin that he and his son, Juan O. Rodriguez, packaged and re-distributed in the Chicopee area.

NIEVES, the sister-in-law of Felix and Jose Juan Cancel, was a street-level heroin dealer in Hartford.
Felix Cancel, Jr. and Jose Juan Cancel currently are serving 20-year terms of imprisonment. Juan Rodriguez currently is serving a 46-month term of imprisonment.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Connecticut State Police and several local police departments that participate on a DEA Task Force.