News Release
For Immediate Release:
January 13, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Hartford Man Admits Role in Crack Distribution Ring

JAN 13 --Steven W. Derr, 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, today announced that VIDA DEAS, also known as “V,” 36, of Hartford, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

This matter stems from a six-month investigation by the Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force that included the use of a variety of investigative techniques including controlled purchases of crack cocaine, federal wiretaps over a two-month period and physical surveillance.  The investigation followed an increase in drug trafficking activity and associated violence in the vicinity of Capen and Tolland Streets in Hartford.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in Court, DEAS was intercepted on numerous occasions during the course of the wiretap investigation.  The investigation revealed that DEAS assisted co-defendant Byron Turner in acquiring 500 grams of powder cocaine on February 13, 2007, provided assistance to Turner in converting that powder cocaine into crack cocaine and, on at least two occasions, drove Turner to locations where DEAS knew that Turner would be meeting customers to distribute crack.

Judge Droney has scheduled sentencing for March 30, 2009, at which time DEAS faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4 million.

This investigation has resulted in the indictment of 14 defendants on federal narcotics and firearms charges, and search and seizure warrants executed during the investigation have resulted in the seizure of seven firearms, significant quantities of powder cocaine and crack cocaine, narcotics paraphernalia, approximately $37,000 in cash, and six vehicles utilized in furtherance of drug trafficking activities.

With DEAS’ guilty plea, all of the 14 defendants who were indicted as a result of this investigation have now been convicted.

On May 11, 2007, Turner pleaded guilty to several federal narcotics offenses.  He awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hartford Police Department, the Bloomfield Police Department, the Drug Enforcement, Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the East Hartford Police Department, and the Mid-State Narcotics Task Force.