Date: April 22, 2021 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Leonard C. Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that Erik Rafael Polanco, also known as "Chino," of Waterbury, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 29 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in a heroin and fentanyl trafficking ring. According to court documents and statements made in court, an investigation by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department revealed that Nestor Sosa-Ortiz operated a Waterbury-based drug trafficking organization that received large quantities of heroin and fentanyl from suppliers in Connecticut and New York and distributed the narcotics throughout New Haven County. The organization used an apartment located at 330 Bishop Street in Waterbury to store kilogram-quantities of heroin and fentanyl, and to process and package the drugs for street sale. On May 18, 2019, Sosa-Ortiz was arrested in New York City on a separate federal heroin and fentanyl trafficking charge. On that date, law enforcement intercepted a planned drug transaction and seized approximately two kilograms of fentanyl and two kilograms of heroin. Sosa-Ortiz continued to control his drug network while incarcerated by using smuggled cell phones to communicate with various co-conspirators. The investigation revealed that Francis Aybar-Peguero received narcotics from members of the Sosa-Ortiz organization and sold them out of his business, the Corner Mini market located on East Farm Road in Waterbury. Polanco worked with Aybar-Peguero to distribute fentanyl and heroin to other drug distributors and customers. Polanco, Aybar-Peguero and several co-defendants were arrested on October 29, 2019. On that date, investigators executed five search warrants and seized approximately six kilograms of suspected heroin/fentanyl, approximately 100,000 bags of suspected heroin/fentanyl packaged for street distribution, approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills disguised as Percocet pills, one firearm and approximately $50,000 in cash. On June 2, 2020, Polanco pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin and fentanyl. Polanco, who is released on a $50,000 bond, is required to report to prison on May 30, 2021. Sixteen individuals were charged as a result of this investigation. Sosa-Ortiz and Aybar-Peguero pleaded guilty and await sentencing. This investigation has been conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department. The DEA New Haven Task Force includes participants from Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, 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 Jocelyn Courtney Kaoutzanis, Lauren Clark and Brendan Keefe through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations through a prosecutor-led and intelligence-driven approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.