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Puerto Rico To CT Cocaine Trafficking Ring Probe Nets Seven Indictments

A Puerto Rico to Connecticut cocaine trafficking by mail probe netted multiple indictments, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
A Puerto Rico to Connecticut cocaine trafficking by mail probe netted multiple indictments, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Photo Credit: U.S. Justice Department

Seven people were indicted on Thursday, April 19 on charges related to alleged smuggling of cocaine via the mail from Puerto Rico to Connecticut, according to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham.

Charged in the indictment were: Erick Suarez, 29, of New Britain; Jerry "Bebo" Rodriguez, 28, of Hartford; Luis Gonzalez-Ofarril, 23, of New Britain; Luis Torres, 35, of New Britain; and Gregory Torres, 39, of Hartford. Two additional suspects from Puerto Rico were indicted.

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, since December 2017, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Hartford Task Force and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service has been 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 Puerto Rico to addresses in New Britain, Hartford, Newington, East Hartford and Bridgeport, as well as Springfield, Mass.

To date, investigators have identified more than 50 suspect parcels mailed by the drug trafficking organization from Puerto Rico. Investigators intercepted five of the suspect parcels, each of which contained approximately one kilogram of cocaine.

On April 10, investigators arrested Rodriguez, Gonzalez-Ofarril, Luis Torres and Gregory Torres in Connecticut, and two suspects in Puerto Rico. On that date, a search of Rodriguez’s Hartford residence found about 400 grams of cocaine, about 160 grams of heroin, items used to process and package narcotics for street sale, and a loaded .45 caliber handgun.

A search of Suarez’s storage units found about $40,000 in cash and additional items used to process and package narcotics. Suarez was arrested on April 12.

The indictment charges each of the defendants with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted of this charge, based on their conduct and the quantity of cocaine involved in the conspiracy, Suarez and Rodriguez face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

Gonzalez-Ofarril, Luis Torres and Gregory Torres face a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.

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