In response to an increase in heroin overdoses and heroin related deaths in Waterbury, the Vice and Intelligence Division has been aggressively conducting investigations into all identified heroin traffickers within this city. VICE investigators began the preliminary phase of this operation in September of 2018. The objective of this extensive investigation was to suppress the trafficking of heroin in Waterbury and was dubbed “Operation: Raw Deal”.
Emphasis was focused on mid-level narcotics dealers that operate in the Waterbury area, specifically those that distribute heroin. During this investigation 52 suspects were identified and involved in the sale of narcotics, mainly heroin. VICE obtained 92 arrest warrants for all 52 suspects for charges such as Sale of Narcotics, Possession in School Zone, Conspiracy at Sale of Narcotics, and firearms violations. Additionally VICE investigators obtained 8 search warrants based upon the sale of narcotics.
The arrest phase of this operation began at 5:00 a.m. on May 17, 2019, when the Incident Commander, Captain Michael Ponzillo, and the Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant Jeremy Desena gave a final pre-raid briefing to all the team leaders and arrest teams. Pre-raid surveillance was established on all the initial target locations. There were thirteen arrest teams that simultaneously began serving the search warrants and arrest warrants at 6:00 a.m. This arrest phase of “Operation: Raw Deal” consisted of 135 detectives, officers, agents and investigators, from the VICE and Intelligence Division, Criminal Investigation Bureau (CID), Gang Task Force (GTF), Street Crime Unit (SCU), Emergency Response Team (ERT), Patrol Division, forensic technicians and investigators from other local and federal law enforcement agencies.
The following law enforcement agencies were directly involved and supported all phases of “Operation Raw Deal”: Connecticut State Police Statewide Narcotics Office (Northwest), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) New Haven Office, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) New Haven Office, Stamford Police Department, State of Connecticut Parole-Waterbury Office, State of Connecticut Probation-Waterbury Office, and the Watertown Police Department.
During the arrest phase of “Operation Raw Deal” 41 suspects from the original list of 52 were arrested by warrant for various drug related offenses. An additional 9 people on scene of some locations of this operation were arrested for various drug related offenses and other crimes.
During the arrest phase of “Operation Raw Deal” detectives applied for and were granted 3 additional search warrants which were also served on this date.
The Waterbury Police Department currently holds active arrest warrants for the remaining 11 suspects. Anyone with any information on the location of these suspects still at large is asked to please call the detectives at (203) 574-6941.
The evidence seized during the arrest phase of this operation included:
8 ounces of Raw Heroin
Several thousand bags of heroin packaged for sale
In excess of $15,000 in cash
2 handguns with ammunition
This remains an open and active investigation.