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John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that FRANCISCO LOPEZ, 34, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall to 66 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for trafficking heroin.

Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the sentencing occurred via videoconference.

According to the evidence disclosed during Lopez’s trial earlier this year, this matter stems from a joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury and Naugatuck Police Departments.  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.

On February 3, 2020, a 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.

All 29 defendants in this case have been convicted.

This investigation has been conducted by the 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, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, 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.

MIL Security OSI