Puerto Rican man sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for trafficking cocaine to Connecticut | USAO-CT

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSE ANGEL SUAREZ, 39, of Veja Baja, Puerto Rico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 60 months in prison, followed by four years of probation, for trafficking cocaine.

According to court documents and statements made in court, an investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force and the New Haven Police Department found that Malbin Rubiera-Herrera, also known as “Chaca,” had acquired fentanyl, heroin and cocaine from sources in Connecticut and New Jersey and distributed the drugs through a network of associates in the greater New Haven area. Between October and December 2018, investigators made controlled purchases of narcotics in Rubiera-Herrera. Subsequent court-authorized wiretaps revealed a large-scale narcotics trafficking conspiracy that involved trafficking kilogram quantities of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine into Connecticut.

In March 2019, Rubiera-Herrera and William Claudio-Suarez were intercepted on a wiretap discussing the shipment of two kilograms of cocaine two Connecticut. On March 7, 2019, a series of intercepted calls revealed that Jose Suarez and Mario Llanos-Ayala had just sold a kilogram of cocaine and were traveling by car in New Jersey. Investigators alerted New Jersey law enforcement who stopped and searched the car and recovered approximately one kilogram of cocaine, a loaded .45 caliber handgun and over $2,500 in cash.

On June 5, 2019, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Suarez, Rubiera-Herrera, Claudio-Suarez, Llanos-Ayala, and 10 others with fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine trafficking offenses. Suarez was located and arrested in Puerto Rico on April 20, 2021. At the time of his arrest, he possessed nearly 200 rounds of ammunition.

Suarez has been detained since his arrest. On April 14, 2022, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Suarez is charged separately in the District of Puerto Rico with unlawful possession of ammunition by a felon.

This case was investigated by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the New Haven Police Department, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, US Marshals Service, Connecticut State Police , Connecticut Department of Correction, East Haven Police Department, Easton Police Department, Orange Police Department and Cape May County (NJ) District Attorney’s Office, Gang Task Force, Weapons fire and narcotics.

The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Connecticut State Police and New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, East Haven , Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis under the Organized Crime Drug Task Force (OECDTF) program. The OECDTF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven approach that leverages law enforcement forces federal, state and local. Additional information about the OECDTF program is available at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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