Feds Bust Heroin, Cocaine Rings in Connecticut

Local police and federal investigators have arrested around 100 people after a 15-month drug trafficking investigation and said they took down two of the largest heroin and cocaine trafficking rings in Connecticut.  

Federal officials said the 52 federal arrests, 52 state arrests are in connection with a large-scale trafficking operation from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico into southeastern Connecticut.

The heroin ring was being operated out of an apartment building on Hawthorn Drive in New London, officials said.

Officials said Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, would regularly get multi-kilogram quantities of heroin from the Dominican Republic and worked with several people to distribute the drug in southeastern Connecticut. 

Capellan Maldonado is accused of supplying customers with raw heroin, often in quantities of 50 to 150 grams.

He also had access to kilogram quantities of cocaine, which he sometimes supplied cocaine to wholesale cocaine distributors in New London, according to federal investigators.

Federal authorities said Pedro Rivera, of Groton, obtained kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico and he, Luis Zayas, of Waterford, and their associates transported the cocaine from Puerto Rico to the United States, through several methods, including the U.S. mail. 

Pedro Rivera and Zayas are also accused of supplying drugs to other individuals, including Frankie Rivera, who used his business, PR Speedshop on Westwood Avenue in New London, to sell cocaine to street-level customers.

Federal officials also said Oscar Valentin and his employees sold narcotics Rivera and others supplied to customers from a garage Valentin managed at the intersection of Walker and Bristol streets in New London.

In addition to drugs, law enforcement officials seized drugs, cash, guns and cars.

"Homeland Security Investigations, along with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, are executing numerous federal and state arrest and search warrants at locations in southeastern Connecticut. More information about this massive law enforcement operation will be announced later today," a high-ranking official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement to NBC News and NBC Connecticut.

The drug raid extends beyond Connecticut and includes 722 law enforcement officials from New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Puerto Rico.

Officials said this involved human trafficking in which people swallowed the drugs to transport them. Other drugs were sent through the mail.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, New London State’s Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, ATF, DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Marshals Service, Connecticut State Police and the New London, Norwich,  Waterford, East Lyme, Groton Town and Putnam Police Departments were all involved in the investigation.


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