News Release
For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Jury Finds New Haven Resident Guilty of Federal Marijuana Trafficking Charges

MAY 01 -- 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 a federal jury in Hartford has found MARK NALBANDIAN, 25, a Canadian citizen last residing on Hine Place in New Haven, guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution, of marijuana.  The trial before United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant began on April 27 and the jury returned its verdict yesterday, April 30, after approximately three hours of deliberation.

According to the evidence disclosed during the trial, on multiple occasions between approximately October 2007 and March 2008, NALBANDIAN, in concert with Canadian suppliers, provided individuals in New York with shipments of marijuana ranging from 60 pounds to 500 pounds.  On March 3, 2008, Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force agents followed NALBANDIAN from a warehouse located on State Street in North Haven, Connecticut, to a diner in Queens, New York, where he met with Richard Judge, a resident of Queens.  Both NALBANDIAN and Judge were arrested after agents observed Judge transfer five garbage bags containing approximately 100 pounds of marijuana from the trunk of NALBANDIAN’s car into his own.  Task Force agents then executed a search warrant at NALBANDIAN’s New Haven residence and seized a quantity of marijuana and approximately $27,000 in cash.  DEA Task Force agents also executed a search warrant at the North Haven warehouse and found thousands of plastic containers along with fake invoices for those containers in the name of a Massachusetts company whose identity had been misappropriated by NALBANDIAN.  Hundreds of these containers had their bottoms sliced open, indicating that NALBANDIAN was receiving marijuana that was transported from Canada within seemingly legitimate cargo.

Judge Bryant has scheduled sentencing for July 27, 2009, at which time NALBANDIAN faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years on the conspiracy count, and a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on the distribution count.  He also faces a fine of up to $2 million.

On April 3, 2009, Richard Judge pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.  He awaits sentencing.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is composed of personnel from the

DEA and New Haven, West Haven, Shelton, Meriden and Branford Police Departments.