HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Eight people were arrested following a seven months-long investigation into illegal drug sales in Hartford.

Hartford police served a search and seizure warrant at a business called Hot Momma’s, located at 451 Franklin Ave. just before 7 p.m. Thursday. Police said the business posed as a restaurant. 

“It was quite an operation they had going, it was spread out, like a market, kind of like a shopping mall,” Lt. Aaron Boisvert said.

Police said three pistols, a rifle, more than $30,000 in cash, 145 pounds of marijuana, 160 bags of fentanyl, 14 grams of cocaine, hundreds of THC edibles and candy bars, two pounds of hallucinogenic mushrooms, 100 bottles of liquid THC, and 50 bottles of “Lean” were seized.

This amount of drugs carries a street value of more than $500,000, according to police.

“They had firearms, which goes to show you a lot of our homicides and shootings are drug-related,” Boisvert said.

Police said the business had a liquor license. There was a deadly shooting at the location when it was a nightclub two years ago.

“It was a restaurant, it used to be the Majestic Lounge, not sure if it was the same owner, but it was posing as a restaurant,” Boisvert said.

According to the Connecticut Business Directory website, Hot Momma’s opened in October 2020.

The Connecticut residents arrested were 28-year-old Julio Fajardo of Bethel, 42-year-old Jimmy Ball from Manchester, 28-year-old Sherrold Lee from Manchester, and 51-year-old Brian Kreidler from Andover. 

Four out-of-state suspects were also arrested, including 29-year-old Savannah Royce, 23-year-old Parris Daren, and 45-year-old Jonathan Handy all from Massachusetts. along with 61-year-old Alfred Hammonds from Pennsylvania. 

Members of the Hartford Police Vice and Narcotics Division, the C4 Division, F.B.I. Task Force, South Street Crimes Unit, area Community Service Officers, CT State Police Task Force, and the Department of Revenue Services were also involved in the investigation.

This is an active investigation. Anyone with information is asked to reach out to the Hartford Police Department Tip Line at (860) 722-TIPS (8477).