Nineteen people including 16 from Connecticut were charged on Thursday, April 26 for trafficking cocaine and heroine, according to U.S. Justice Department officials.
The other three suspects are from California, Mexico and Puerto Rico, federal prosecutors said.
Seventeen of the 19 defendants were arrested on Wednesday: one defendant is in state custody, and one defendant is in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Michigan.
This matter stems from a joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force, FBI and New Haven Police Department that has included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, and seizures of bulk heroin and cocaine.
It is alleged that Duane Filyaw, of New Haven, operated a heroin and cocaine trafficking ring in which he conspired with others to purchase narcotics from suppliers and then distribute the drugs to other suppliers of street-level dealers in and around New Haven.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized more than 200 grams of heroin and more than one kilogram of cocaine through supervised purchases and interdictions of on-going transactions. In association with Thursday’s arrests and the execution of multiple search warrants, officers seized three firearms, approximately 360 grams of fentanyl, approximately 340 grams of suspected heroin, approximately 80 grams of cocaine, more than $90,000 in cash, vehicles, jewelry and precious metals.
On April 19, a grand jury in New Haven returned a six-count indictment charging:
Duane Filyaw, 34, of New Haven; Neftali "Nef" Fernandez, 31, of Meriden; Leon "Gotti" Greene, 43, of Cheshire; Rafael Serrano, 43, of West Haven; Salvatore Orsini, 27, of West Haven; Christopher "Mancho" Serrano , 34, of Milford; Norman Edgardo "Rico" Perez, of Oakland, Calif.; Lorenzo "Viejo" Morales-Arambula of Mexico (who is in ICE custody); Natividad "Nat" Diaz, 34, of Meriden; Johnathan Brito, 24, of Waterbury; Harrison Elba, 27, of Simsbury; Gabriel Romero Escalera, 27, of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Birl Jackson, 36, of New Haven (who is in state custody); Steven "S Dot" McCoy, 25, of New Haven; Stevie "EVX" Jones, 33, of New Haven; Hakeem "Neil Ford" Basir, 54, of Waterbury; Carlos Ovalle also known as “Carlos Tirado,” 46, of East Hartford; Nigel Jones, 36, of New Haven; and Samuel Cruz, 40, of New Haven.
Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. Several defendants face maximum sentences of life in prison.
The indictment also charges Rafael and Christopher Serrano, Fernandez, Filyaw, Orsini, Elba and Brito counts of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin or cocaine.
New Haven Police Chief Campbell said, “Those that poison our kids and endanger our citizens deserve to be behind bars. We’re a safer city now that these arrests have been made.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Gordon Hall.
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