John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ERICK SUAREZ, 31, of New Britain, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 97 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking cocaine from Puerto Rico to Connecticut through the U.S. Mail.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2017, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service began investigating a drug trafficking organization that was sending Priority Mail parcels containing kilogram-quantities of cocaine through the U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico to Connecticut and elsewhere. The investigation revealed that Suarez coordinated shipments of cocaine from individuals in Puerto Rico to addresses in New Britain, Hartford, Newington, East Hartford and Bridgeport, as well as Springfield, Massachusetts. Investigators identified more than 50 suspect parcels that were mailed from Puerto Rico, and intercepted five of the suspect parcels, each of which contained approximately one kilogram of cocaine.
On April 10, 2018, investigators arrested several members of the cocaine trafficking ring, including Jerry Rodriguez, also known as “Bebo,” of Hartford. On that date, a search of Rodriguez’s residence revealed approximately 400 grams of cocaine, approximately 160 grams of heroin, items used to process and package narcotics for street sale, and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. Also on that date, investigators searched Suarez’s residence, as well as two storage units used by Suarez and one storage unit used by Rodriguez in West Hartford. The search of Suarez’s storage units revealed more than $50,000 in cash and a search of Rodriguez’s storage unit revealed additional items used to process and package narcotics.
Suarez was arrested on April 12, 2018. On April 18, 2018, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Suarez, Rodriguez and five other individual with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Suarez pleaded guilty on September 10, 2019.
Suarez has been detained since his arrest.
Rodriguez has pleaded guilty and is detained while awaiting sentencing.
The DEA’s Hartford Task Force includes personnel from the DEA Hartford Resident Office and the Bristol, Hartford, East Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Windsor Locks and Willimantic Police Departments. The DEA Puerto Rico Caribbean Corridor Strike Force and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Newark Division, San Juan (P.R.) Office, have assisted the investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.