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DEA Task Force Takes Down Fentanyl Distribution Ring

MAY 19 (HARTFORD, Conn.) – Michael J. Ferguson Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, New Britain Police Chief James P. Wardwell and Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran, announced that the following nine individuals were arrested today on federal charges related to the distribution of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid:

John Casadei, 45, of Morris
Jared McBriarty, 31, of Bristol
Kyle Petersen, 30, of New Britain
Charles Orcutt, 27, of Windsor
Carlos Enriquez, 27, of Enfield
Jesus Correa, 41, of New Britain
Isaac Ortiz, 35, of Newington
Tomasz Ziobron, 30, of New Britain
Dominique Greco, 29, of Cromwell

As alleged in documents and statements made in court, in late December 2015, the DEA’s Hartford Task Force and New Britain Police Department received information that Petersen was selling fentanyl powder, prescription pills and marijuana.  DEA Task Force Officers and the New Britain Police Department Special Services Unit initiated an investigation and made multiple controlled purchases of fentanyl from Petersen.  Subsequent court-authorized wiretaps revealed that Casadei supplied fentanyl and various prescription pills to McBriarty, who in turn supplied them to Petersen.  Wiretaps further revealed that Casadei used the darknet, a network that can only be accessed through the use of specific software or authorizations, to purchase large quantities of fentanyl that were shipped from China.  Casadei also obtained and distributed various prescription pills, including Xanax and oxycodone.  It is alleged that Petersen sold fentanyl and other drugs to Orcutt, Enriquez, Correa, Ortiz, Ziobron, and prescription pills to Greco.  These defendants then sold the drugs throughout central Connecticut.

“Opioid abuse is at epidemic levels, and fentanyl and heroin are claiming too many lives in Connecticut and throughout New England,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ferguson.  “Those affected are our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members.  DEA is committed to bringing to justice those who put these deadly poisons on our streets and in the hands of those struggling with addiction.  This investigation demonstrates the strength of our collaborative law enforcement efforts in Connecticut to aggressively pursue anyone who distributes these lethal drugs.”

“We believe that this groundbreaking investigation has identified a major supplier of fentanyl in our state,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.  “Fentanyl is a highly dangerous synthetic opioid which can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin.  In the wrong hands, it’s deadly.  Here in Connecticut, like other parts of the country, we are battling an escalating epidemic of opioid abuse.  Tragically, this epidemic is leading to an increasing number of opioid deaths.  Toxicology reports for these overdose victims often reveal the presence of fentanyl.  This investigation has provided us with an important window into how fentanyl is winding up on our streets.  I thank the DEA’s Hartford Task Force and all of its members – notably the New Britain and Wethersfield Police Departments – and our other federal, state and local law enforcement partners, for their superb efforts to shut down this deadly fentanyl distribution network.  These defendants will now experience the full force of federal law.”

“After several months of intensive investigation, we are here today to report that this major source of fentanyl has been disrupted,” said New Britain Police Chief Wardwell.  “It is now up to us not to relax and to recommit to battling the increase of opioids on our streets.  The New Britain Police Department is a proud and active partner with the DEA as we work together to eradicate these drugs and stop the death and heartache they leave behind.  This investigation is one example of how effective our collaboration is and how committed we all are in addressing these issues that impact our city, as well as towns across the northeast and country.  Today, we have made some headway.  Tomorrow we will be right back at it to show those who want to bring these poisons into our communities that we will not stand for it – not now – not ever.”

“I can’t express my gratitude for allowing us to be involved and for being able to contribute to such an important investigation,” said Wethersfield Police Chief Cetran.  “I am very proud of our participation in this operation that has resulted in the taking off the streets a significant amount of fentanyl and those who traffic in this drug.  Fentanyl has killed too many people in our state.  This is a prime directive of law enforcement: Protecting people.”

Casadei, McBriarty and Petersen are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 400 grams or more of fentanyl, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.  Petersen is also charged with possession with the intent to distribute, and distribution of, at least 400 grams of fentanyl.  Orcutt, Enriquez, Correa, Ortiz, Ziobron and Greco are charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, controlled substances, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.  In association with today’s arrests, law enforcement executed 10 search warrants and seized approximately 2.5 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, approximately two kilograms of suspected molly, approximately 50,000 suspected counterfeit Xanax pills, approximately 40 pounds of marijuana, butane hash oil (BHO) and steroids.  Agents also seized approximately $500,000 in cash.

Following their arrests, the defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford.  Eight of the defendants are detained, and Orcutt was released on a $10,000 bond.  U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Hartford Resident Office and the Bristol, Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Wethersfield and Willimantic Police Departments.  Agencies assisting the investigation include the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office and Connecticut State Police.


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