New London man to serve 10 years for heroin distribution

A 53-year-old New London man was sentenced in U.S. District Court Thursday to 10 years in prison for distributing heroin and illegally possessing firearms.

Jose Morales has been in federal custody since he was arrested in April 2013 during a large-scale investigation into the trafficking of heroin and cocaine from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in and around southeastern Connecticut. On Jan. 6, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Morales was purchasing raw heroin from associates of Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado, an importer, and selling to his own customers, typically in quantities of 5 to 10 grams at a time.

A search of his Willetts Avenue residence revealed a shotgun, a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol, several rounds of ammunition, heroin packaging material and $940 in cash. Morales has multiple prior felony convictions, including convictions for sexual assault, violating a protective order, threatening, robbery and larceny.

More than 100 individuals have been charged with federal and state offenses as a result of this investigation. Maldonado has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

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