The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut has announced that a major drug trafficking network in the state has been shut down. In an Oct. 26 press release, federal prosecutors said that 15 people were taken into custody during an investigation conducted by the Waterbury Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. They have been charged with possession of fentanyl and heroin with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and heroin.
Prosecutors say the narcotics trafficking network obtained heroin and fentanyl from suppliers in Connecticut and New York and distributed the drugs throughout New Haven County. The 35-year-old man identified by law enforcement as the leader of the organization was arrested in May. Police believe he continued to run the group from inside prison using smuggled cellphones. Two of the people taken into custody were his sisters.
Police officers and federal agents executed five search warrants during the investigation at locations that included an East Farm Street convenience store and a Bishop Street apartment. During these searches, law enforcement discovered and seized approximately 6 kilograms of substances believed to be fentanyl and heroin, approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills and about 100,000 bags of drugs that had been packaged for sale. A gun and approximately $50,000 in U.S. currency was also seized according to media reports.
Police generally cast a wide net during drug sweeps, but they do not always provide prosecutors with sufficient evidence to prove drug charges beyond reasonable doubt against all of the individuals they apprehend. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise individuals who are taken into custody during large law enforcement operations to remain silent while they assess the strength of the evidence against them. When the cases against their clients are weak or police may have violated rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, attorneys could seek to have narcotics charges reduced or dismissed.