Federal Officials Bust Heroin Mill After Raids in Several Towns

A federal drug investigation resulted in a major drug bust in Hartford after officials found nearly 1 million bags of heroin and shut down a heroin mill and processing lab, according to officials.

The investigation began around 5 a.m. on Collins Street in Hartford and spanned to two locations in East Hartford as well as the Springfield, Massachusetts area and New Jersey.

The drugs may be worth as much as $5 million, according to a police source.

Federal officials said they believe members of a drug ring were receiving bulk quantities of heroin and fentanyl from out-of-state suppliers, then storing, processing and packaging the heroin/fentanyl in several locations, including apartments on Collins Street in Hartford, where some of the defendants also resided, and then distributing them in the Hartford area, as well as Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts area. 

In all, authorities seized around 20 kilograms of suspected heroin; several vials of Xylazine, which is a horse tranquilizer used by narcotics traffickers as a heroin additive; and seven firearms. 

Federal officials said a significant amount of drug trafficking activity occurred at a market on Farmington Avenue in Hartford. 

During the raid at an apartment complex on Collins Street, just blocks away from St. Francis Hospital, Hartford police, firefighters and the DEA searched several apartments and found hundreds of thousands of bags of what appear to be Fentanyl and heroin, according to federal sources close to the investigation.

Because of the potential they would encounter dangerous substances, first responders wore hazmat suits and used self-contained breathing apparatus as a precaution during the search.

Among the items removed from the complex was a hydraulic press used to package large quantities of heroin, officials said.

Thirteen people accused of supplying drugs across New England have been arrested, according to police.

Joel Cordero, 37, of Meriden; Edwin Reyes, 34, of Hartford; Gisel De La Cruz, 43, of East Hartford; Angel De Jesus-Concepcion, A.K.A. “Blue,” 40, of East Hartford; Anthony Acosta, 28, of New Britain; Gabriel Cordero, 30, of Hartford; Alexander Pena, 25, of East Hartford; Amarilis Pirela, 38, of Springfield, Mass.; Jonathan Velez, 23, of Springfield, Mass.; Henry Caraballo, 26, of Hartford; Fernando Tolentino, Jr., A.K.A. “Humacao,” 46, of Hartford; Daily Pena, 39, of Hartford; and Angel Rijo-Castillo, 41, of Guttenberg, N.J., have been arrested.

East Hartford police said they are assisting with the bust and warrants were served on Greenwood Street and Wood Drive.

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