News Release
For Immediate Release
Date: August 19, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Two Members of New Haven Heroin Trafficking Ring Sentenced to
Federal Prison

AUG 19 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that two men were sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport to federal prison terms for their participation in a New Haven-based heroin distribution ring.  BLAS ZAYAS, also known as “Boricua” and “Bori,” 40, of First Avenue, West Haven, was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment, followed by eight years of supervised release, and SAUL VALENTIN, also known as “Rally,” 30, of Grand Avenue, New Haven, was sentenced to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.

This matter stems from “Operation Oceanfront,” a long-term Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force investigation, which included the participation of several local police departments.  The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on wireless phones used by two members of the organization.  In addition to the wiretap intercepts, the DEA made several controlled purchases of heroin during the investigation.

The investigation revealed that members of the organization processed and packaged heroin in “bundles”  – 10 single-dosage unit bags of heroin tied or “bundled” together –  for street distribution by ZAYAS, VALENTIN and others.

ZAYAS and VALENTIN were intercepted over the wiretap engaging in conversations that pertained to narcotics trafficking with other members of the conspiracy.

On November 9, 2009, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging ZAYAS, VALENTIN and 10 others with various heroin trafficking offenses.  ZAYAS and VALENTIN each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin on March 26 and April 21, respectively.  Each has been detained since his arrest in October 2009.

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and officers from area police departments, including the New Haven Police Department’s patrol and narcotics units; the West Haven Police Department, which assigned five officers to the investigation; the Meriden Police Department; the Branford Police Department, and the Ansonia Police Department.  The United States Marshals Service also offered critical assistance to the investigation.