Date: February 3, 2020
A federal jury in New Haven today found Francisco Lopez of Waterbury, guilty of heroin distribution offenses. The trial before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall began on January 28.
The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, physical surveillance and controlled purchases of narcotics, revealed that a Waterbury-based drug trafficking organization was receiving large quantities of heroin and cocaine from various suppliers and distributing narcotics in and around Waterbury. Intercepted communications indicated that, on two occasions in December 2018, Lopez ordered 150 grams of heroin from two other members of the conspiracy.
Three hundred grams of heroin is enough to produce 12,000 individual bags of heroin that can be sold for approximately $5 each on the street.
The jury found Lopez guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, 100 grams or more of heroin, and one count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.
On March 13, 2019, a grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment charging Lopez and 28 other individuals with various offenses related to the distribution of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine. Lopez has been detained since his arrest on March 20, 2019.
On March 21, 2019, in association with the arrests of several of Lopez's codefendants, investigators seized approximately 3,000 bags of heroin, 400 grams of cocaine, 350 grams of fentanyl/heroin mixed, 400 grams of heroin, 10 grams of crack, 20 pounds of marijuana, fentanyl patches, a one-kilogram press, four handguns, approximately $120,000 in cash and four vehicles.
Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for April 27, 2020, at which time Lopez faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 44 years.
All 29 defendants in this case have been convicted.
This investigation is being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force, Waterbury Police Department and Naugatuck Police Department, with the critical assistance of the U.S. Secret Service, New York Field Office. The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from the U.S. Marshals Service, and the New Haven, Hamden, West Haven, North Haven, Branford, Ansonia, Meriden, Derby, Middletown, Naugatuck and Waterbury Police Departments.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Dave Vatti and Nathaniel J. Gentile.