Documents reveal details of 15-month drug probe
Alleged New London heroin wholesaler Luis Ariel Capellan Maldonado, hearing last year that a courier who had ingested a large quantity of city-bound drugs was feeling ill, encouraged the man to "eat pork," according to a court document.
The conversation between Capellan Maldonado, 38, and a supplier in the Dominican Republic, published in an application for warrants to search Capellan's apartment at 172 Hawthorne Drive and for his arrest, is just a snippet from the many hours of phone calls investigators intercepted during the 15-month investigation that led to Wednesday's massive drug sweep in the region.
Capellan Maldonado was among more than 100 people rounded up in an operation that involved some 700 federal, state and local officials. The authorities said they dismantled overlapping conspiracies that supplied much of the heroin and cocaine that flows into the region from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and New York City.
During the investigation, the authorities seized 10 guns, including five long guns and five handguns, and more than 20 high-end vehicles. They also seized quantities of drugs and cash, the total amounts of which have not yet been made public.
Speaking in cryptic terms with suppliers and buyers, Capellan Maldonado, a Dominican citizen living in New London, allegedly arranged for the distribution of raw heroin, often in quantities of 50 to 150 grams, to a variety of customers. He is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin and 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, use of a telephone to facilitate a narcotics felony and money laundering.
He is being detained by federal authorities, who said they expect to hold bond hearings for all of the federal defendants in the coming days.
Some of the conversations that led to his arrest are laid out in an affidavit prepared by Special Agent Rod Khattabi of the Department of Homeland Security.
In a Dec. 4 phone conservation, a Dominican source advised Capellan Maldonado he had received some product, according to the affidavit.
"I have a little bit of the ugly ones here," the source said.
The agent surmised that "ugly ones" were heroin pellets that had been ingested by human couriers. The source went on to talk about "Pedros," which the agent determined were pellets of cocaine.
Later the same day, Capellan Maldonado asked the source when "the thing that is coming here" would be ready, according to the affidavit.
"The guy (courier) is kind of, you know, he is feeling bad," the co-conspirator said.
"Um. He should start eating food, and that's it. ... He should eat pork," Capellan Maldonado replied.
The authorities said the New London-bound drug couriers arrived in New York City and the heroin was processed and prepared by New York supply sources.
A similar operation involving cocaine is described in a search warrant for Oscar "Tato" Valentin, 39, who is accused of receiving "wholesale" quantities of 50 to 100 grams of powder cocaine and selling it in redistribution quantities, such as ounces, or street-level quantities, such as grams.
The authorities allege in a search warrant application that Valentin and his employee, 45-year-old Angel "Yuyo"Collazo Garcia, sold cocaine from an 11-bay garage that Valentin managed at the intersection of Bristol and Walker streets.
According to the affidavit, investigators arranged for a confidential informant to make a series of controlled purchases from Valentin, used wiretaps to intercept incriminating conversations and installed pole cameras to conduct video surveillance at the garage.
"Do you have any of the white available?" Valentin asked during one intercepted conversation with a supplier. "I'm looking for at least five or eight ounces."
A review of the video images from the pole cameras showed that Valentin went to the garage almost daily and could be seen "delegating orders to associates by pointing and using hand gestures and directing his associates to perform certain tasks, including moving and cleaning items," according to the affidavit.
There was a constant flow of cars and pedestrians from the buildings.
"These individuals appear to be drug customers who can be seen engaging in what appear to be hand to hand drug transactions right on the street in front of the green garages or entering into the green garages for a short time and then leaving the area a short time later," the affidavit says.