Montville couple accused of selling heroin had hidden compartment in car

A Montville couple accused of selling heroin in the region concealed the drug in several vehicles, including one with a hidden compartment, court records show.

Cristian Caba, 29, formerly of 622 Route 163, Montville, was slated to appear Tuesday in New London Superior Court, but because he’s in a Rhode Island federal prison on drug charges, he was not present. His alleged co-conspirator, Krista Raffo, briefly appeared in court Tuesday. She also faces federal narcotics charges.

According to warrants, a confidential informant told police in April that Caba was selling heroin and keeping the drugs in his home and car. The informant called Caba, and they agreed to meet. During this time, police watching Caba’s residence in Montville saw him and a woman, later identified as Raffo, leave the residence and meet up with the informant in Norwich, the warrant says.

Raffo was seen leaving the truck and meeting the informant, at which time there was a brief exchange. The informant gave police a clear plastic bag with contents that tested positive for heroin.

Police arranged a second drug deal with the informant.

On May 8, Montville police, state police and the Statewide Narcotics Task Force executed a search and seizure warrant at Caba and Raffo’s residence. They were pulled over as they were leaving their home. Raffo told police that as they were being pulled over, Caba instructed her to hide the heroin in her body. When they were stopped, she retrieved the drugs, which subsequently tested positive for heroin, the warrant says.

Raffo also directed police through instructions to open a motorized compartment in the rear of the front passenger seat. Police found about 10 grams of heroin packaged for sale in the hidden compartment.

During the search, Raffo’s mother, Cindy Raffo, was inside the residence. Police said Cindy Raffo told them that they would find drugs in a white Cadillac DeVille that was parked in the driveway. She said she had seen Caba constantly come and go from the vehicle.

Krista Raffo and Caba denied owning the car and refused to consent to a search of it. A drug-detecting dog sniffed the car and alerted police to the presence of drugs. The car was impounded and searched. Altogether, police said they seized 380 grams of heroin, packaging materials, scales, cutting agents, three cars and more than $13,000 in cash. The street value of the drugs was estimated at $38,000.

Raffo was released that same day on a $25,000 bond. Documents showed she paid $43,500 in cash to secure Caba’s release on his $600,000 bond.

Both were charged with possession of narcotics and three counts of risk of injury to a minor. Caba was also charged with operation of a drug factory and possession with intent to sell.

On May 29, the couple was arrested on federal drug charges in Norwich. Police said Caba had a motel key for a room in Niantic. After securing a warrant, police and federal agents found 150 grams of heroin packaged for sale and other packaging materials in that hotel room.

Both Caba and Raffo were indicted on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. Caba was also indicted on possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin.

Both Caba’s and Raffo’s Superior Court cases have been continued to Sept. 11, although it is uncertain whether Caba will appear then because he remains in federal custody. Raffo is out on bond.

i.larraneta@theday.com

Twitter: @larraneta

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