15 Arrested On Drug Charges

A joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department have charged 15 individuals with distributing heroin and fentanyl in and around Waterbury.

“In recent years, the flow of opioids in Waterbury has had a devastating impact on our community as a whole,” said Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo. said. “We are grateful for the support from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and for our partnership with the DEA. We will continue to work side by side with these agencies to combat the opioid trade in Waterbury.”

Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo

Last week on WATR Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary said the heroin and fentanyl abuse is devastating the city. So far this year O'Leary said there had been 80 overdose deaths attributed to heroin and fentanyl, and 400 deployments of narcan used to save overdose victims."

"It's getting worse," O'Leary said.

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and Waterbury Police Chief Fernando C. Spagnolo today announced that 15 individuals have been charged with federal narcotics offenses related to the distribution of heroin and fentanyl in and around Waterbury.

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, the arrests stem a joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department. The investigation, which has included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, physical surveillance and controlled purchases of narcotics, revealed that Nestor Sosa-Ortiz has operated a Waterbury-based drug trafficking organization that received large quantities of heroin and fentanyl from suppliers in Connecticut and New York and distributed the narcotics throughout New Haven County. After Nestor Sosa-Ortiz was arrested in New York City on a separate federal heroin and fentanyl trafficking charge in May 2019, he continued to control his drug network while incarcerated by using smuggled cell phones to communicate with various co-conspirators, including his sisters, Isamelis Sosa-Ortiz and Imirici Sosa-Ortiz, in Waterbury.

The following individuals have been charged by federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin and fentanyl:

• NESTOR SOSA-ORTIZ, 35, of Waterbury

• ISAMELIS MARIAN SOSA-ORTIZ, a.k.a. “Marian,” 29, of Waterbury

• IMIRICI SOSA-ORTIZ, a.k.a. “Mimi,” 31, of Waterbury

• ELIAS SANCHEZ-MARTINEZ, 27, of Waterbury

• FRANCIS AYBAR-PEGUERO, a.k.a. “Grena,” 27, of Waterbury

• ERICA ORAMA, a.k.a. “Wifey,” 39, of Waterbury

• RONEY SOSA, 23, of Waterbury

• IVANNY ANTONIO FRANCISCO-ESTRELLA, 34, of Waterbury

• BRAYAN GONZALEZ, 35, of Waterbury

• JEFFREY TAVAREZ, 21, of Waterbury

• ORLANDO MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Bolo,” 51, of Watertown

• JUAN CARLOS CASTELLANO, 41, of Bridgeport

• ERIK RAFAEL POLANCO, a.k.a. “Chino,” 23, of Waterbury

• DARRY JOSE GUERRERO, a.k.a. “Domi,” 27, of Waterbury

• JEISSON AMARANTE-PEREZ, a.k.a. “Smart Yeii,” 25, of Waterbury

Thirteen defendants were arrested today, and one defendant, Jeisson Amarante-Perez, is currently being sought. Nestor Sosa-Ortiz has been detained in federal custody since May 18, 2019.

In association with today’s arrests, law enforcement officers executed five search warrants at locations in Waterbury, including an apartment at 330 Bishop Street and the Corner Mini Market at 52 East Farm Street, and seized approximately six kilograms of suspected heroin/fentanyl, approximately 100,000 bags of suspected heroin/fentanyl packaged for street distribution, approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet pills, one firearm and approximately $50,000 in cash.

“Heroin and fentanyl continue to destroy too many lives in our state, and we are committed to using federal law enforcement resources to prosecute those responsible for distributing these deadly drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Durham. “This investigation has closed the door on one drug trafficking network, but we know our work is not done, in Waterbury and throughout Connecticut. We thank the members of the DEA Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department for their great work. Every time a heroin dealer is arrested, we believe that lives are saved.”

“DEA is committed to investigating and dismantling large scale Drug Trafficking Organizations like this one operating in the greater Waterbury area,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Boyle. “DEA and Waterbury Police will continue to aggressively pursue those responsible for distributing lethal drugs like fentanyl and heroin to the citizens of Connecticut and hold them accountable for their actions.”

The 13 individuals who were arrested today appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department. The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis, Lauren C. Clark, H. Gordon Hall, Peter D. Markle and Anthony E. Kaplan.