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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Two Connecticut Residents Involved in Fentanyl and Heroin Trafficking Ring Sentenced to Prison

The organization used an apartment located at 330 Bishop Street in Waterbury to store kilogram-quantities of fentanyl and heroin, and to process and package the drugs for street sale. 

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that two Waterbury residents were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford for their participation in a fentanyl and heroin trafficking organization.  ELIAS SANCHEZ-MARTINEZ, 31, was sentenced to 135 months of imprisonment, and IMIRICI SOSA-ORTIZ, also known as “Mimi,” 36, was sentenced to 94 months of imprisonment.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from a joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department into a Waterbury-based drug trafficking operation headed by Nestor Sosa-Ortiz.  The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, physical surveillance, and controlled purchases of narcotics, revealed that Sosa-Ortiz’s organization received large quantities of fentanyl and heroin from suppliers in Connecticut and New York and distributed the narcotics through a network of co-conspirators, including Sanchez-Martinez.  After 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, Imirici Sosa-Ortiz and Isamelis Sosa-Ortiz.

The organization used an apartment located at 330 Bishop Street in Waterbury to store kilogram-quantities of fentanyl and heroin, and to process and package the drugs for street sale.  Imirici Sosa-Ortiz helped manage the operation at this location.

Sanchez-Martinez, Imirici Sosa-Ortiz, Isamelis Sosa-Ortiz and several co-defendants were arrested on October 29, 2019.  On that date, investigators executed search warrants at the Bishop Street apartment and four other locations and seized approximately six kilograms of fentanyl and heroin, approximately 100,000 bags of fentanyl/heroin packaged for street distribution, approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet pills, one firearm, and approximately $50,000 in cash.  Nearly 50 grams of fentanyl were seized from Sanchez-Martinez’s Charlevoux Street residence.

Imirici Sosa-Ortiz has been detained since her arrest.  On January 22, 2020, she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl.

Sanchez-Martinez, who is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was detained from the date of his arrest until June 20, 2020, when he was released on a $100,000 bond due the COVID-19 pandemic.  Shortly thereafter he fled to the Dominican Republic.  He was located and arrested in the Dominican Republic on June 9, 2021, and has been detained since that date.

On motion from the government, Judge Bryant ordered the forfeiture of Sanchez-Martinez’s bond.  The five individuals who signed Sanchez-Martinez’s bond are responsible for paying $100,000.

On August 29, 2022, Sanchez-Martinez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl.  He faces immigration proceedings when he completes his prison term.

Seventeen individuals were charged as a result of this investigation.  Nestor Sosa-Ortiz and Isamelis Sosa-Ortiz pleaded guilty.  Nestor Sosa-Ortiz is awaiting sentencing.  On December 21, 2022, Isamelis Sosa-Ortiz was sentenced to 94 months of imprisonment.

This investigation has been 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 DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Connecticut State Police and the New Haven, Waterbury, East Haven, Branford, West Haven, Ansonia, Meriden, Naugatuck, and Shelton Police Departments.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren C. Clark and Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Read more at DEA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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