November 16, 2011
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: 617-557-2100
More Than Two Dozen Connecticut Residents Charged With Drug Trafficking Offenses
Joint investigations target New Haven neighborhood; Kilograms of heroin and cocaine seized
NEW HAVEN, CT. - David B. Fein , United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Kevin L. Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England, Guy N. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division, Colonel Danny R. Stebbins of the Connecticut State Police, and Acting Chief John Velleca of the New Haven Police Department today announced that 28 individuals have been charged with various federal offenses related to the alleged trafficking of heroin, cocaine, crack and marijuana throughout Connecticut. The charges are the result of two separate investigations that stem from drug trafficking activity on one street in the Fair Haven section of New Haven.
Over the past 48 hours, DEA’s New Haven and Hartford Task Forces, ATF, Connecticut State Police, New Haven Police, New Britain Police and the United States Marshals Service have arrested 20 of the defendants charged in two indictments. An additional defendant was arrested this morning and charged by criminal complaint. Six defendants have been arrested previously and are currently in state or federal custody. Two defendants are currently being sought. The indictments and today’s arrests represent the culmination of two long-term joint investigations that were funded in significant part by the United States Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and supported by the Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and Anti-Gang programs.
Law enforcement officers executed several search warrants in association with today’s arrests and seized at least five firearms, narcotics, cash and other items.
“I want to commend all of the law enforcement officers involved in these important investigations,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “Their coordinated efforts both today and over the past several months have disrupted what we allege to be two significant narcotics trafficking networks. These cases represent the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s long-standing, steadfast commitment to working with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute large-scale trafficking of narcotics, and when appropriate, to assisting local law enforcement in their efforts to rid neighborhoods of pervasive drug trafficking in order to improve the quality of life for the residents.”
“This investigation is another excellent example of collaborative law enforcement,” stated DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Lane. “By working together, law enforcement agencies were able to dismantle this interstate heroin trafficking group. DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts are committed to making our communities safer by removing such drug traffickers from the streets. The arrests in this operation are a positive step in that direction.”
“Guns are tools of the trade for drug dealers, as evidenced by today’s seizure of firearms,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Thomas. “ATF will continue to utilize all of its resources to fight violent crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.”
“Law Enforcement teamwork is to be credited for the success in this case, which has made a significant impact in the illegal narcotics trade in Connecticut and surrounding states,” stated Col. Stebbins of the Connecticut State Police.
“Today’s take-down is an example of the difficult and dangerous work the men and women of the New Haven Police Department continue to engage in with our partners in state and federal law enforcement to address organized narcotics dealing and its related gun violence, which affect the city and surrounding region,” stated Acting Chief Velleca of the New Haven Police Department. “New Haven residents are encouraged to report any illegal drug activity by calling our tip-line at 203-946-6098. All tips are kept confidential.”
US v. Pinzon-Gallardo, et al -
According to allegations in court documents and statements made in court, in early 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration in New Haven received information from the Connecticut State Police that ANTOVANY ACOSTA was selling substantial quantities of heroin from a residence at 28 Maltby Place in New Haven. Following a series of controlled purchases of heroin from ACOSTA, the DEA New Haven Task Force, which includes members from the New Haven Police Department and other local police departments, initiated a court-authorized wiretap investigation. During the course of the wiretap investigation, it was determined that ADRIAN PINZON-GALLARDO of Bloomfield was supplying large quantities of heroin, and also cocaine, to several individuals around Connecticut, including ACOSTA, and that ACOSTA, in turn, conspired with others to distribute narcotics in and around New Haven. New Britain-based cocaine and marijuana distribution organization were also identified through this investigation.
On September 2, 2011, DEA personnel from both New Haven and Providence, R.I.., with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police, tracked PINZON-GALLARDO’s Jeep as it traveled from Connecticut to Providence where it was believed from wire intercepts that PINZON-GALLARDO intended to conduct a narcotics transaction. In Providence, the surveillance team observed PINZON-GALLARDO and ARNOLDO AVINA-ROLON meet and then travel to a storage facility in Pawtucket, R.I, in PINZON-GALLARDO’s Jeep. At the facility, PINZON-GALLARDO and AVINA-ROLON entered an open storage unit with several other individuals and closed the door. A short time later, AVINA-ROLON returned to the vehicle, retrieved a black backpack and walked back to the storage unit. PINZON-GALLARDO and AVINA-ROLON then returned to the Jeep and departed. After driving to Boston, PINZON-GALLARDO and AVINA-ROLON drove a circuitous route back to Connecticut when their vehicle was stopped by Connecticut State Police on Interstate 84 after it crossed the Connecticut border. A search of the car revealed three bricks of heroin, weighing a total of approximately 736 grams of heroin, and approximately $14,000 in cash.
A subsequent search of the storage unit in Rhode Island revealed approximately eight kilograms of heroin, including three kilograms that were contained within a black backpack similar to the one that AVINA-ROLON had been seen carrying into the facility, approximately two kilograms of cocaine and approximately $35,000 in cash.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that one kilogram of heroin can produce approximately 50,000 single-dosage unit bags of heroin.
On September 15, 2011, a grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging PINZON-GALLARDO and AVINA-ROLON each with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin.
On November 9, 2011, the grand jury returned a 17-count superseding indictment adding 15 defendants, including ACOSTA, and charging additional conspiracies. Charged in the indictment are:
ADRIAN PINZON-GALLARDO - , a.k.a. “The Mexican, 26, of Republic Drive, Bloomfield,
ANTOVANY ACOSTA - , a.k.a. “Tony,” 31, of Maltby Place, New Haven,
ARNOLDO AVINA-ROLON - , 50, of East Street, New Britain,
DAVID CASTELLANO-NUNEZ - , 26, of Clinton Avenue, New Haven,
ZACHARIAS CEPEDA-NUNEZ - , a.k.a. “Carlos,” 29, of Maltby Place, New Haven,
JOEL CODERO-SANTIAGO - , a.k.a. “Jose,” 28, of the Bronx, N.Y.,
ALBERTO DELGADO - , a.k.a. “Tito,” 31, of Adeline Street, New Haven,
RAMON GOMEZ - , a.k.a. “Moncho,” 37 of Maltby Place, New Haven,
WILSON LEMUS - , 28, of Scantic Road, East Windsor,
LUIS PLASENCIA - , 31, of Brown Street, Hartford,
JAVISH ROSA - , 30, of Maple Avenue, Hartford,
SERGIO RUBIO - , 44, of Walnut Street, Enfield,
JOSE HERNANDEZ - , a.k.a. “Chieto, “33, of Cherry Street, New Britain,
DWIGHT BROWN - , 22, of Ash Street, New Britain,
ANGEL FLORES - , a.k.a. “Flaco,” 26, of Wilson Street, New Britain,
GABRIEL KELLY - , 23, of Horton Avenue, Meriden,
GEORGE SOTO - , 36, Kensington Avenue, New Britain
PINZON-GALLARDO, ACOSTA, AVINA-ROLON, SERGIO RUBIO; JOEL CODERO-SANTIAGO, RAMON GOMEZ, DAVID CASTELLANO-NUNEZ, ZACHARIAS CEPEDA-NUNEZ and ALBERTO DELGADO are charged with conspiring to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.
ACOSTA and CODERO-SANTIAGO, and PINZON-GALLARDO, RUBIO, PLASENCIA and ROSA are charged in separate conspiracies to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. If convicted of this charge, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.
HERNANDEZ, FLORES and BROWN are charged with conspiring to distribute a quantity of cocaine, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
HERNANDEZ, FLORES, KELLY and SOTO are charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
Certain defendants also are charged with possession of heroin, cocaine and/or marijuana, and using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a narcotics trafficking felony.
The DEA New Haven Task Force, includes participants from the New Haven, Meriden, Hamden, West Haven, Branford and Ansonia Police Departments, and the United States Marshals Service. The New Britain Police Department, which is a member of the DEA Hartford Task Force, substantially assisted the investigation. The DEA Hartford Task Force also includes participants from the Bristol, Hartford, Manchester, Newington and Wethersfield Police Departments.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys S. Dave Vatti and Peter D. Markle.
US v. Johnny Serrano, et al -
According to allegations in court documents and statements made in court, in April 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in conjunction with the DEA and the New Haven Police Department’s Tactical Narcotics Unit, began an intensive investigation into drug dealing in the vicinity of 36 Maltby Place in the Fair Haven section of New Haven. The investigation, which has included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, law enforcement surveillance, and controlled purchases of crack cocaine and cocaine from a number of individuals, revealed that JOHNNY SERRANO and others operated an open-air narcotics market where crack cocaine, cocaine, and heroin were sold to customers on a daily basis.
It is alleged that this organization was sometimes supplied with cocaine by RICARDO AQUINO. On November 4, 2011, investigating officers executed federal search warrants at AQUINO’s residence and a barbershop he operates at 1345 State Street in New Haven and seized distribution quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine. It is further alleged that another individual who had involvement with SERRANO’s organization was Maltby Place resident Antovany Acosta, who is charged in US v. Pinzon-Gallardo, et al.
On November 10, 2011, the grand jury returned a 21-count indictment charging:
JOHNNY SERRANO - , a.k.a. “Bey Bey,” 23, of Parmalee Ave, New Haven,
ALEXANDER ALVARADO - , a.k.a. “Alex,” 22, of Maltby Place, New Haven,
RICARDO AQUINO - , a.k.a. “Ricky,” 23, of Ferry Street, New Haven,
MARK FORMICA - , a.k.a. “Mike,” 42, of Whalers Point, East Haven,
EMMANUEL ORTIZ - , a.k.a. “Emma,” 23, of Pine Street, New Haven,
JOSE LUIS ORTIZ - , a.k.a. “Tony,” 46, of Quinnipiac Avenue, New Haven,
LUIS ORTIZ - , a.k.a. “Big Nose,” 22, of Quinnipiac Avenue, New (state DOC),
JAVIER SERRANO - , a.k.a. “Javi,” 20, of Maltby Place, New Haven,
JOSE SERRANO - , a.k.a. “Jose,” 24, of Maltby Place, New Haven,
RAYMOND SERRANO - , a.k.a. “Macho,” 21, of Maltby Place, New Haven,
MIGUEL TORRES - , a.k.a. “Chucky,” 22, of Pierpont Street, New (state DOC)
Each defendant is charged with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine (“crack”), cocaine and heroin. If convicted of this charge, each faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
JOHNNY SERRANO, ALVARADO, AQUINO, EMMANUEL ORTIZ, LUIS ORTIZ, JAVIER SERRANO and TORRES are also each charged in one or more counts of the indictment with possession with intent to distribute the narcotics.
The Stamford Police Department offered critical assistance to this investigation.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony E. Kaplan and Marc H. Silverman.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that the charges are not evidence of guilt. The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.