U.S. law enforcement officers arrested more than 100 individuals on Wednesday said to be part of a "massive" heroin and cocaine operation that trafficked in drugs from the Caribbean to Connecticut, according to Global Post.
The case involved 700 officers during a 15-month investigation into the trafficking of the narcotics from Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, which brought in waves of arrests. Wiretaps of 15 telephones, man-to-man surveillance and undercover officers making purchases of the drugs served as the foundation for the case, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Authorities executed federal and state arrests and arrest warrants that spanned from Connecticut to Massachusetts, New York, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island, the federal prosecutor's office for Connecticut said in a release. About half of the apprehended individuals faced federal narcotics charges and the remaining half were charged with state narcotics counts.
"Approximately 52 individuals were arrested on federal narcotics and money laundering charges, and approximately 51 individuals were arrested on state narcotics and related charges," the statement noted.
The alleged drug ring were importing "wholesale amounts" of cocaine and heroin to the Northeastern state not often associated with drug trafficking, according to officials.
U.S. Attorney David Fein said that the office alleges the defendants who were arrested on Wednesday were responsible for the majority of heroin and cocaine, which was available for illegal sale in New London County. If they are found guilty, most of the defendants arrested in the drug bust are likely to face prison sentences that will fall between five and 10 years, according to the release.
Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado, a Dominican Republic citizen, brought several kilos of heroin in from his native island before working with several individuals to distribute the drug in the southeastern Connecticut region. Authorities said Maldonado operated the drug ring out of his New London apartment and supplied his customers with raw, uncut quantities of heroin that weighed between 50 and 150 grams.
Maldonado is charged with coordinating the shipment of heroin as well as cocaine by employing couriers who physically shipped the drugs from the Dominican Republic to America.