A Connecticut man is heading to federal prison for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring that involved a US Postal worker.
Kendall Hooks, age 50, of Hartford, was sentenced to more than 5 years behind bars Wednesday, May 11, in federal court in Hartford.
It came nearly nine months after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, the US Attorney’s Office said.
The charges stemmed from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Hartford and the US Postal Inspection Service that revealed shipments of cocaine were arriving in the Hartford area through the US mail system.
Investigators determined that the drugs were shipped from Puerto Rico and California.
Prosecutors said Hooks bought the cocaine from Jesus Rodriguez, a US Postal Service letter carrier who received shipments of the drug and then sold it to numerous customers in and around Hartford.
Hooks also helped facilitate cocaine transactions between Rodriguez and other narcotics traffickers, prosecutors said.
A grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment against Hooks, Rodriguez, and 17 others in June 2019 with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and related offenses.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutors said a third man, Pedro Rivera, also pleaded guilty to arranging to have a cocaine source in Puerto Rico send parcels of the drug to addresses in Hartford.
He was sentenced to 100 months in prison in April 2022.
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