Jury Convicts Bridgeport Man of Cocaine Distribution Charge
Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal jury in Bridgeport today returned a guilty verdict against HECTOR TORRES, age 43, of Pembroke Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut. TORRES was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. TORRES was indicted on February 18, 2004, when a grand jury returned three separate indictments charging 24 individuals with various narcotics offenses involving the distribution of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine, "crack" cocaine and marijuana in Bridgeport and the surrounding area. TORRES conviction marks the 21st defendant to be convicted in connection with this investigation and prosecution.
The guilty verdict returned today stems from an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force ("OCDETF") investigation dubbed "Operation Two Terrences," which was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Bridgeport. As detailed in court proceedings, beginning in the Spring 2003, the DEA Task Force began an investigation targeting the distributors of cocaine, "crack" cocaine and marijuana in and around the city of Bridgeport. The Task Force utilized information gathered from a variety of investigative techniques including information from confidential sources; controlled purchase of marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine; video and physical surveillance; and extensive electronic surveillance.
From October 2003 through February 2004, the DEA Task Force obtained court-authorized wiretaps for several different telephones that allowed the Task Force to intercept the conversations of the defendants as they talked about their drug trafficking activities. As further revealed in court proceedings, many of the defendants spoke in a very cryptic manner or used a code that was designed to conceal the true nature of their conversations. For example, the defendants often referred to cocaine as either "food" or "girls," and they frequently used the term "tickets" to mean money.
As the investigation neared its conclusion, the Task Force executed several search warrants that resulted in the seizure of additional evidence, including drug records, digital scales used for weighing narcotics, various types of drug paraphernalia, and significant quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. According to statements made in court during earlier proceedings and evidence introduced during the trial of this matter, the drug organization was responsible for the distribution of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine on a weekly basis. Seized during the investigation were approximately eight kilograms of cocaine, nearly 300 grams of crack cocaine, several firearms and more than $40,000 in cash.
The conviction this afternoon came after a four-day trial. Following the guilty verdict, United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill, who presided over the trial, ordered TORRES remanded. It was disclosed in court that after his arrest and while he was on pretrial release, TORRES tested positive for the use of cocaine. TORRES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000 when he is sentenced on January 7, 2004.
U.S. Attorney O'Connor commended the law enforcement agents and officers who conducted the investigation and praised their devoted efforts to identify, disrupt and dismantle this multi-kilogram cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking operation.
This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, which is located in Bridgeport and is comprised of DEA special agents, officers from the Bridgeport, Stratford, Easton, Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich police departments, and members of the Connecticut State Police.