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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Man who was leader of ‘extensive’ cocaine trafficking organization could face life

    A New Haven man who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine faces a mandatory minimum term of 10 years prison and a maximum of up to life in prison, according to federal officials.

    Jose L. Gerena, 33, pleaded guilty this week and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer on March 20, 2023, according to federal officials.

    Authorities, citing court documents and statements made in court, said the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotics and Bulk Cash Trafficking Task Force executed a federal search warrant in November 2020 on a “suspicious package” that had been sent through the U.S. Mail from New Haven to Puerto Rico. The package contained $102,450 in cash, federal officials said in a statement.

    “The investigation revealed that Gerena was the leader of an extensive drug trafficking organization and supervised the receipt of numerous parcels containing kilogram quantities of cocaine that had been shipped from Puerto Rico, the resale of the cocaine to others, and the shipment of narcotics proceeds to Puerto Rico,” the statement said. “Gerena was responsible for trafficking more than 100 kilograms of cocaine.”

    Authorities said the organization regularly received cocaine shipments in New Haven and in August 2021, “investigators intercepted two parcels, each containing a kilogram of cocaine, that had been sent through the U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico.”

    Gerena was arrested on August 10, 2021, after investigators “made a controlled delivery of a parcel containing a kilogram of cocaine” in New Haven, the statement said.

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