23 charged after DEA investigation into New Haven heroin trafficking operation

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NEW HAVEN — Twenty-three people were indicted on federal narcotics offenses related to the distribution of heroin in the New Haven area.

Officials said the DEA investigation specifically targeted a drug trafficking organization led by Bienvenido Gonzalez and his brother, Antonio Gonzalez, both of New Haven.

Authorities said wire taps and controlled purchases showed the Gonzalez brothers regularly purchased large quantities of heroin from sellers in the Bronx, New York, and sold the heroin on the streets of New Haven through a network of redistributors, which included three of their younger brothers.

“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 Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

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

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 defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, heroin. 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. The defendants face different potential sentences due to the quantity and type of narcotics.

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. 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.

Bienvenido Gonzalez, Roberto Gonzalez, Herson Gonzalez, Jorge Luis Ruiz, Jose Manuel Rios, Pablo Jose Cruz, Jose Minaya-Melendez in New Haven were arrested on March 15. on the same day, Antonio Gonzalez was arrested in Puerto Rico. Officials said they searched a vehicle used by Minaya-Melendez to drive Cruz to a stash house used by Bienvenido Gonzalez and seized of a kilogram of heroin.  They seized of another 400 grams of heroin and $10,000 in cash at the stash house and at Rios’ home they seized of 60 grams of heroin and $9,558 in cash.

The other defendants were arrested the following day, March 16, with the exception of Luis Gonzalez, who already was in custody on state charges. At Roberto Torres’ home, officials, in the seized of approximately 50 grams of crack cocaine and $7,722 in cash; at Julio Flores’ residence they seized around $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, in the Bronx, and seized a large volume of heroin packaging materials, including stamps used to brand the heroin, from his home.

In addition to federal agents, Bristol, East Haven,Greenwich, Hamden, Milford, New Haven, Shelton, Vernon, West Haven, Wilton, and the U.S. Coast Guard assisted in the investigation.