(WTNH) — On Thursday, a grand jury in Bridgeport indicted 23 people for offenses related to the distribution of heroin in and around New Haven. The indictment also charges one of the defendants with a firearms offense.
According to allegations made in court, the investigation specifically targeted a drug trafficking organization led by Bienvenido Gonzalez and his brother, Antonio Gonzalez, both of New Haven. The investigation, which included court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of narcotics and physical and video surveillance, revealed that Bienvenido and Antonio Gonzalez regularly purchased bulk quantities of heroin from suppliers located in the Bronx, New York, and sold the heroin through a network of redistributors, which included three of their younger brothers, on the streets of New Haven.
“We allege that this drug trafficking organization was responsible for distributing a tremendous amount of heroin on the streets of New Haven, heroin that undoubtedly also made its way to addicts in neighboring communities,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “As the opioid epidemic is ruining lives in our state and across the nation, we and our partners in the DEA, and with the assistance of state and local police, will continue to dedicate resources to target those responsible for trafficking this deadly drug and put them out of business.”
“Those suffering from the disease of heroin addiction need access to treatment and recovery,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ferguson. “But, those responsible for distributing these lethal drugs to the citizens of Connecticut need to be held accountable for their actions. In response to the ongoing opioid epidemic DEA and its local, state and federal partners are committed to bringing to justice those that distribute this poison.”
Charged in the indictment are:
- Bienvenido Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Antonio” and “Julian, 44, of New Haven
- Antonio Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Bienve,” 46, of New Haven
- Luis Gonzalez, 40, of New Haven
- Herson Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Titi,” 37, of New Haven
- Roberto Gonzalez, 38, of New Haven
- Rafael Neftali Castillo Baez, 23, of the Bronx, N.Y.
- Pablo Jose Cruz, 44, of the Bronx, N.Y.
- Julio Flores, 37, of Webster, Mass.
- Charles May, 48, of New Haven
- Jose Medina, a.k.a., “Tito,” 46, of New Haven
- Andre Miller, 26, of New Haven
- Jose Minaya-Melendez, of the Bronx, N.Y.
- Marco Padilla, 50, of New Haven
- Wanda Piscil, 50, of New Haven
- Elvin Plaza, a.k.a. “Jordan,” 39, of New Haven
- Jose Manuel Rios, 42, of New Haven
- Luis Robles 40, of New Haven
- Efrain Rolon-Dones, 29, of New Haven
- Marimar Roman, 23, of New Haven
- Ismael Ruiz, a.k.a. “Papo,” 50, of New Haven
- Jorge Luis Ruiz, a.k.a. “Pito,” 41, of New Haven
- Carlos Santiago, a.k.a. “Carlito,” 52, of New Haven
- Roberto Torres, 32, of East Haven
On March 15, 2017, investigators arrested Bienvenido Gonzalez, Roberto Gonzalez, Herson Gonzalez, Jorge Luis Ruiz, Jose Manuel Rios, Pablo Jose Cruz, Jose Minaya-Melendez in New Haven. Investigators also arrested Antonio Gonzalez in Puerto Rico. A search of the vehicle that Minaya-Melendez had used to drive Cruz to a stash house used by Bienvenido Gonzalez led to the seizure of a kilogram of heroin. A search of the stash house resulted in the seizure of another 400 grams of heroin and $10,000 in cash. A search of Rios’ residence led to the seizure of 60 grams of heroin and $9,558 in cash.
On March 16, 2017, investigators arrested the remaining defendants named in the indictment, with the exception of Luis Gonzalez, who already was in custody on state charges. On that date, a search of Roberto Torres’ residence resulted in the seizure of approximately 50 grams of crack cocaine and $7,722 in cash, a search of Julio Flores’ residence resulted in the seizure of approximately $18,180 in cash, and search of Andre Miller’s residence resulted in the seizure of two loaded handguns and $4,737 in cash.
DEA agents arrested Rafael Baez on March 23, 2017, in the Bronx, and seized a large volume of heroin packaging materials, including stamps used to brand the heroin, from his residence.
Bienvenido Gonzalez, Antonio Gonzalez, Baez, Cruz, Padilla, Rios, Robles, Rolon-Dones, Ismael Ruiz, Jorge Ruiz, Santiago, Torres, and Minaya-Melendez have been in custody since the time of their arrest. The remaining defendants have been released on bond.
The indictment charges each of the defendants with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin. If convicted of this charge, based on the type and quantity of narcotics charged, Bienvenido Gonzalez, Antonio Gonzalez, Baez, Cruz, Minaya-Melendez, Jorge Ruiz and Santiago face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life; Flores, Medina, Miller, Piscil, Plaza, Rios, Roman, Ismael Ruiz and Torres face a minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years; and Luis Gonzalez, Roberto Gonzalez, Herson Gonzalez, May, Padilla, Robles and Rolon-Dones face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Bienvenido Gonzalez, Luis Gonzalez, Cruz, Medina, Minaya-Melendez, Rolon-Dones, Rios Roman, Jorge Ruiz and Santiago also are charged with one or more counts of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, various quantities of heroin. Torres also is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.
Finally, the indictment charges Miller with one count of being felon in possession of a firearm, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad, which includes officers from the Bristol, Greenwich, Hamden, Milford, New Haven, Shelton, Vernon and Wilton Police Departments. The New Haven, East Haven and West Haven Police Departments, together with the U.S. Coast Guard, provided valuable assistance to the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy C. Brown.