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Bridgeport Man Charged With Distributing Carfentanil

JUNE 15 (BRIDGEPORT, 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 and Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik today announced that Charles Thelusma, 43, formerly of Bridgeport, has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin, carfentanil and U47700.

Carfentanil is an opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which is itself 50 times more potent than heroin.  It is typically used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals.  U47700 is a synthetic opioid that is approximately seven times stronger than morphine.

As alleged in court documents, on two occasions in March and May 2017, law enforcement coordinated controlled purchases of heroin from Thelusma.  In both instances, an individual working for Thelusma completed the drug transactions at predetermined locations in Bridgeport.  On May 24, 2017, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase of three bundles heroin (30 dose bags) from Thelusma in exchange for $200.  Thelusma directed the purchaser to a hotel in Elmsford, N.Y. to complete the transaction.  Laboratory analysis of the drugs purchased on May 24 confirmed the presence of heroin, carfentanil and U47700.

Thelusma was arrested on June 13, 2017, at the hotel in Elmsford, where he had been residing.  He appeared yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport and was ordered detained.  The charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
“This is the first federal prosecution involving carfentanil in Connecticut,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.  “We will continue to devote numerous federal resources to battle the scourge of opioid abuse and distribution, and our commitment becomes stronger as these illegal drugs become more sinister and deadly.  This investigation is ongoing.”

“Those suffering from opioid addiction need access to treatment and recovery,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ferguson.  “But those responsible for the distribution of heroin and deadly synthetic opioids like carfentanil and U-47700 need to be held accountable for their actions.  This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative law enforcement in Connecticut and our strong partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to aggressively seek and bring to justice anyone who distributes these poisons.”

“I would like to commend my officers for their excellent work on following up with this investigation in regards to this very dangerous drug,” said Chief Kulhawik.  “I also thank the DEA and U.S. Attorney’s Office for their valuable assistance and partnership in working on this case which lead to the arrest.”

This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) and Norwalk Police Department.  The HIDTA Task Force includes participants from the Connecticut State Police and the Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Milford and Bridgeport Police Departments. 


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